"The Grand Canyon, a Cathedral to Time, Is Losing Its River"

"Down beneath the tourist lodges and shops selling keychains and incense, past windswept arroyos and brown valleys speckled with agave, juniper and sagebrush, the rocks of the Grand Canyon seem untethered from time. The oldest ones date back 1.8 billion years, not just eons before humans laid eyes on them, but eons before evolution endowed any organism on this planet with eyes.

Spend long enough in the canyon, and you might start feeling a little unmoored from time yourself.

The immense walls form a kind of cocoon, sealing you off from the modern world, with its cell signal and light pollution and disappointments. They draw your eyes relentlessly upward, as in a cathedral.

You might think you are seeing all the way to the top. But up and above are more walls, and above them even more, out of sight except for the occasional glimpse. For the canyon is not just deep. It is broad, too — 18 miles, rim to rim, at its widest. This is no mere cathedral of stone. It is a kingdom: sprawling, self-contained, an alternate reality existing magnificently outside of our own."

Raymond Zhong rafts, reports, writes and photographs for the New York Times June 6, 2023.

Source: NYTimes, 06/08/2023