Memories by Chance

February 11, 2008
By Ian Hecht, Moore, OK

My hand ignorantly searched for a light switch to the dark hall, and with a small “click”
everything was illuminated. After tripping over boots, with a slight limp, I stumbled to the dark brown
door at the end of the hall. Turning the cold golden knob revealed a very untidy workout room with
boxes of papers and chairs here and there. Walking hastily to the bench press, I fell right into a
overturned lazy boy. Towered above were flat brown boxes, split at the edges; what spilled out caught
my eye.

Pictures upon pictures avalanched out of the box, but only one shined with interest to me.
A picture of my brother, mother, and my own back, to the camera. Standing right on the edge of an
over hanging, we are facing an extraordinary view of the Grand Canyon. Just looking at this picture
sends a shiver of cold needles crawling up your spine. I feel like a worthless worm looking into it’s
abyss. The rust red, granite white, and yellow sand stone layer upon each other, and mesmerize on
looker’s eyes. Birds of all different sizes hunt the sky for the occasional fallen mammal or fish out of
water. Clouds of air shimmer below with heat, and wind cracks the lips with heat. The air smells of dry
grass , rock, and air.

I sifted through numerous other photos but my gaze stayed glued on the majestic, yet
intimidating, canyon. One false move and these rock walls ,breathing rock walls, will swallow you
whole. As a child just standing on that cliff without a metal barrier of safety was a feat of courage.
That cliff could come loose at any moment taking my family and I into its jagged teeth below. Now as an
older person I would be filled with energy re-experiencing the Grand Canyon, but still respect it’s danger.

In this one cheap plastic photo were millions of years of change. The Grand canyon shaped by
passages of time, carved by the masterful hand of the Colorado River. A piece of art and yet over 600
deaths have occurred here. I remember my step-dad and brother played a joke on me, shaking me as I
leaned over a guard rail. It gave me the feeling of light headedness right before a fall. I laugh on it now,
but to me before I realized that I wasn’t falling, I thought the grand canyon was sucking me into its
gnashing teeth. That split second was a horrible feeling.

I remember ,as I left the Canyon, feeling like losing a superior. I wish I could have stayed longer
and learned more about it, and more about myself. Of course to my parents and brother this was just
another enjoyable vacation, but to me it , a 10 year old, this was an unforgettable experience. It’s sad,
that beautiful place with its great heights ,layers of the past, and variety of wildlife will become a blur of
the past as I age.

I realized that it was becoming late , and these memories had sent me into a daze. I flipped the
photo and noticed a description; Grand canyon, August 2003. Nearly five years back and things are
already becoming blurred. Sighing I gathered the pictures, documents, invitations and other tokens of
my family’s past, stacked them in the split box , and started to replace the lid on the top. Hesitating, I
stopped, wondering if I would ever see these pictures again. I placed the lid back on the ground in
hopes that another weary stumbling family member would trip on the overturned lazy boy ,and knock
over all these memories.

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