Christian Self Help
The Line In The Sand
(Part 2) The Line in the Sand - Chapter 9. - Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park, a World Heritage Site, encompasses 1,218,375 acres and lies on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona. The land is semi-arid and consists of raised plateaus and structural basins typical of the southwestern United States. Drainage systems have cut deeply through the rock, forming numerous steep-walled canyons. Forests are found at higher elevations while the lower elevations are comprised of a series of desert basins.
Well known for its geologic significance, the Grand Canyon is one of the most studied geologic landscapes in the world. It offers an excellent record of three of the four eras of geological time, a rich and diverse fossil record, a vast array of geologic features and rock types, and numerous caves containing extensive and significant geological, paleontological, archeological and biological resources. It is considered one of the finest examples of arid-land erosion in the world. The Canyon, incised by the Colorado River, is immense, averaging 4,000 feet deep for its entire 277 miles. It is 6,000 feet deep at its deepest point and 15 miles at its widest. However, the significance of Grand Canyon is not limited to its geology.
The Park contains several major ecosystems. Its great biological diversity can be attributed to the presence of five of the seven life zones and three of the four desert types in North America. The five life zones represented are the Lower Sonoran, Upper Sonoran, Transition, Canadian, and Hudsonian. This is equivalent to traveling from Mexico to Canada. The Park also serves as an ecological refuge, with relatively undisturbed remnants of dwindling ecosystems (such as boreal forest and desert riparian communities). It is home to numerous rare, endemic (found only at Grand Canyon), and specially protected (threatened/endangered) plant and animal species. Over 1,500 plant, 355 bird, 89 mammalian, 47 reptile, 9 amphibian, and 17 fish species are found in the park.
1. The Canyon
Have you ever seen the Grand Canyon? It is truly a breathtakingly spectacular sight. The sheer size alone is enough to attempt to comprehend. The extremely detailed complexity that makes it what it is just adds to its magnificence. Nearly five million people see Grand Canyon each year.
The texture of the landscape and the symmetry of the layers of soil and stone are worthy of our respect, contemplation, and our wonder. Such a vast rift in the crust of our great earth brings up a question for many of us. How did the canyon get here?
Sure, there are the obvious facts that explain the basic existence of the canyon. There is a mighty river running constantly in the bottom that continually washes the soil from the riverbed and sweeps it away downstream. There are the timeless elements of wind and rain, relentlessly pounding and washing at the walls, pushing more soil down to the mighty river to be washed away. This is a constant, never-ending cycle making the Grand Canyon wider and taller, and even grander.
How would you cross the canyon? Even at the narrowest points you could not jump across, nor could you easily build a bridge. Why would you desire to cross the canyon? What could be on the other side? We are back to the root question, “How did the canyon get here?”
For all practical purposes, the Grand Canyon is a huge line in the sand. Think about it. Imagine yourself on the south rim, close to the edge. The line is very wide – 15 miles at its widest point, very deep – averaging about 4000 feet, and very long – about 277 miles, a three-dimensional line in the sand. It really is huge!
Envision the Grand Canyon again. Now imagine the canyon is completely filled in. You can walk across the entire span on firm ground. There is no river running through the depths. The surface is just like the rest of the desert around the canyon. The process of erosion has not yet begun.
Relationships are much like the canyon, or the lack of canyon as in our example. Any relationship, at its best, is open, honest, fulfilling, peaceful and filled with loving communication. On the other hand, at its worst, relationship is closed, untruthful, unfulfilling, abusive, chaotic and filled with painful communication.
There is a vast difference between these two aspects of relationship. I firmly believe, that in our heart of hearts, we all desire open, fulfilling, and loving relationships. I haven’t met anyone yet who strives to intentionally seek out a closed, abusive and painful relationship.
We seek relationship to be connected with other human beings, or we choose to not seek relationship so we can protect ourselves in some way. These are the two basic relationship choices. Do I choose connection through relationship or isolation from relationship? That is the question.
Since we agree that a tender and close relationship is most desirable, and that is what we all truly seek, at least in the beginning, let’s look at the canyon as though it is completely filled-in. This represents the line in the sand where there is little conflict complete with a tremendous degree of fulfillment and where harmony seems to be the norm.