Getting back to nature

I woke up on the morning of 9/11 in the Grand Canyon. Friends had gathered in Las Vegas the weekend before to celebrate a 40th birthday. Three of us had extended our trip to include seeing the Grand Canyon.

That morning we were to take a mule ride down into the canyon. We got to the corral and mounted our mules. The ridemaster gave a City Slickers talk, telling us how good it would be to be in the canyon to forget the troubles of the world.

When he gave another similar speech, I asked if he was talking about something specific. He told us about two planes flying into the World Trade Center. Quickly the ride began, without any further discussion of what was going on in New York.

The ride was spectacular. Riding atop our mules was a great way to appreciate the grandeur of the place.

At the finish of the ride we rushed to the nearest TV. After catching up on how the world had changed that day, we retreated to our room to figure out how we would get home. Luckily, we had a rental car.

For years I contemplated why I happened to be in one of the safest places in the country that awful day. It wasn’t until I returned to the Colorado mountains some 14 years later that I understood.

What I realized was how important it was to me to be in nature. I have read that in India, yogis’ primary function is to reconnect people to the rhythm of nature. Just by living one’s life, it is easy to get disconnected.

While the Grand Canyon is a wonderful place to reconnect, I realize I don’t have to travel that far to feel nature. All I have to do is step outside and tilt my face towards the sun. Or dance in the rain. Or contemplate a tree, stuck in the same place for its entire life, no matter what the weather.

Ah, nature! I feel refreshed already.