Monday, September 19, 2011

A Grand Experience

I recently traveled to the Grand Canyon, in Arizona. As a total coincidence, shortly before the trip I happened to read a commentary which mentioned that the Grand Canyon is one of the few famous sights that when you actually lay eyes on it, doesn’t disappoint. I found myself dwelling on this comment a great deal during my westward journey, and feeling hopeful, because I’d gotten myself very excited about the trip and I didn’t want to be let down.

The line of commentary struck me, because it made me realize that I’d been slightly worried about this in the weeks before the trip–worried about being disappointed by the canyon, based on my larger than life expectations. It wasn’t a conscious concern, but one of those back-of-the-mind naggings that you just can’t quite get a handle on until it eventually comes to light or fades quietly away.

I realized that, in the past, I’ve felt that way about certain tourist attractions—that the anticipation is sometimes greater than the actual experience, and in the end high expectations can diminish the overall result. When you get yourself so ramped up to see something, and people are all telling you how great it is, sometimes the imagination runs away with itself. Particularly as someone with a very active creative mind, the inescapable fantasies can sometimes overwhelm reality. (This happens to me all the time with books, movies, plays—the greater the hype, the more likely to be a slight let down.)

Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by the Canyon. It did not disappoint. The views were breathtaking, the weather was amazing, and the overall experience was really special. All I ended up being disappointed about is that my camera wasn’t able to fully capture the grandeur of the canyon in two dimensions. Oh, well. I’ll just have to settle for a mess of great memories!

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