From Beauty to Beauty: Sedona and the Grand Canyon

I can’t believe this is my life.

I woke up on Day 5 of our road trip thinking, “I can’t believe this is my life!”

For the first time, I’m in a relationship where both of us are making the kind of money that allows for amazing vacations. I mean, this isn’t a champagne lifestyle by any means, but it’s so nice to go somewhere beautiful, and stay someplace beautiful, and not have that dull pit of anxiety gnawing at my gut, wondering how I’ll make up for this splurge without starving myself to death for the next several months. What a weight off. What a gift! How did I get this lucky?

I couldn’t wait to get out and see Sedona in broad daylight, and by the light of day, didn’t disappoint. And as if the natural beauty of the place weren’t enough, it’s also an extremely artsy town. I was bowled over by the many galleries and the sheer creativity of it all. I would have had to have spent hundreds of dollars to develop all these photographs back in the day. Hooray for digital!

It was hard leaving this magical place, even if I knew I’d be back that same night. It felt like there was this tearing inside me. I’m hooked.

But we were going to another glorious place: the Grand Canyon. But first we stopped at an overlook where about two dozen Native Americans were selling their art. We got two Christmas ornaments. One has a hummingbird on it, and is a powerful symbol, we were told by the artist, of luck and love. Another looks like the traditional native pottery of the area, and has fine lines through it which are made by horsehair in the firing process.

I was excited to press on, because I knew it would be DH’s first time seeing the Grand Canyon. There’s nothing quite like seeing someone take in the grandeur of this canyon for the very first time. I’ve seen it 3 times previously, but never from the south rim.

I’ve seen people cry the moment they’ve taken in this view. DH didn’t cry. I think he was semi-prepared because he has flown by the Grand Canyon a time or two. But as he said, being up in a plane doesn’t give you the full three-dimensional experience. Pictures also don’t do it justice. You just have to be there. It enters you. It surrounds you. It makes you feel small and yet protected, somehow. At peace. Like you’re breathing deeply for the very first time.

While we were there, we also visited Hopi House, which made me realize something that I had suspected for about an hour. I HAVE been to the South Rim. My very first visit to the canyon, decades ago, was to the South Rim. I just didn’t realize it because that time I flew in to the tiny local airport. It was a life-changing experience. I blogged about it here. So here I’ve been, walking around in the world as someone who has seen both rims of the Grand Canyon, and I didn’t even realize it. How funny.

Hopi House, at the Grand Canyon village, is a delightful place, full of Native American art that I can only gaze upon with longing. These artists deserve the prices they’re asking for their work, but it’s unfortunately a luxury that I can’t justify in my mind. But it was wonderful taking in such talent.

The visitors centers themselves are closed due to the pandemic, but the gift shops are open, and it’s there that I was able to obtain a stamp for my National Parks Passport. Yay!

The day was full of too much perfection, if that’s possible. As we headed back to Sedona, our ears popping from periodic elevation changes anywhere from 4000 to 7000 feet above sea level, I reflected on my hummingbird-like luck. This was, no doubt about it, the most beautiful day of my life.

Back to the reality of mere mortals, we started to cast about for a place to eat dinner, and that hummingbird-like luck must have kicked in again, because after we rejected several Yelp suggestions, we happened upon Sedona’s Hideaway House, an Italian restaurant with spectacular views, charming decor, and food that looks like works of art. If you ever have the great good fortune of spending time in Sedona, you have to check this place out.

After going back to our room and finally tucking into bed, my last thought before drifting off was exactly the same as my first thought of the day. I can’t believe this is my life. That’s when the happy tears came to my eyes that I hadn’t shed at the Grand Canyon.

Here are some wholly inadequate photos from our glorious day. Enjoy!

There are a lot more tales to tell about this trip, but I’ll try not to post them daily, so as not to put off those who aren’t interested in travel blogs. So brace yourself for a good month of every other day adventures! I’ll try to link them together, so that you can start at the beginning if you find yourself in the middle and want to read the whole saga. Here’s a link to the first post in the series. And here’s a link to the day after this one.

An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book!


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

4 thoughts on “From Beauty to Beauty: Sedona and the Grand Canyon”

  1. ‘It enters you. It surrounds you. It makes you feel small and yet protected, somehow. At peace. Like you’re breathing deeply for the very first time.’ You describe how I feel as I watch this wounded country pull together to resuscitate democracy. It’s still alive and kicking. Weeping tears of joy, relief and hope. Today we celebrate, but tomorrow the hard work and healing begins.

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