Vertigo

Today’s 10 minute, unedited free write, based on the Daily Post’s daily prompt: Finite

from Latin finitum, past participle of finire “to limit, set bounds; come to an end” (see finish (v.))

It was my first visit to the Grand Canyon. Punk New Englander that I was, I hadn’t packed a winter jacket for the Christmas visit. After all I was headed to the desert, right? I had a puffy vest and a cardigan, which was enough to keep off the chill in Phoenix’s valley over night, but wasn’t anywhere near enough for the top of the rim, which was covered in snow and ice. Still, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to see the Grand Canyon when I was this close. I shivered a little harder and tucked my hands in my pockets. Cold weather builds character, I reminded myself, though I was unconvinced I actually needed more of that.

My first glance over the edge cleared all thoughts of the cold. The pinks and oranges and brick reds, with speckles of deep green I slowly realized as trees, all under a gossamer layer of white. I couldn’t stop staring. I tried to take pictures, but each one felt so far removed from what I was experiencing that I eventually tucked the device back in my pocket.

I knew the canyon ended. But it seemed to fall endlessly. My brain knew that was absurd, but that same brain would spin every time I tried to peer down to see it’s bounds. I gripped the railing tighter and forced myself to look away, giving myself a chance to recover from my dizziness. Instead, I looked at the sky: clear and blue and limitless. Somehow this was better. I suppose my head was used to looking up into a seemingly endless sky, while it wasn’t used to looking down to see an indefinitely expanding openness below us. Or perhaps gravity made one feel inherently safer to my deeper, reptile brain.

The clouds held my finite gaze until I was able to return it to the magnificent hole before me. The Grand Canyon wasn’t finished with me yet.

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