PBP Week 13 – Guano

I’m running a bit late with this week’s Pagan Blog Project post.  Life has exploded, yet again, into a massive ball of frenetic chaos and I find myself once again knee deep in a pile of guano of someone else’s creation.  This year has so far been one bit of chaos after another with hardly a break between.

As I was weeding my herb garden last night, bemoaning the craziness that has been 2012, I found myself thinking of the ghosts of a Christmas Eve past in a year that was similarly guano-filled.  The end of that year found me standing on the lip of the Grand Canyon on December 24th.  It was, at that moment, the last place I needed or wanted to be.  I’d spent the previous day in Las Vegas, looking for some trace of my father’s phantom.  He’d died a few months earlier and I was still buried in the deep depression that his death had caused.   He’d spent his bachelor days in Vegas in the bad old days, long before the Disney-fication of the place.

Nothing of him and very little of the city he’d known remained and I reluctantly took a bumpy tour through the desert to fill the remaining day of my visit.   I’d expected a quick stop at the Canyon at some nice, safe, railed overlook with plenty of responsible folks making sure that no one ventured too close to the edge.  What I got was a place on the northern rim where there was no safety measures in place other than a stern warning not to be careful… a place where an acrophobe like myself could experience the sheer and utter terror of walking unhindered to the edge of the canyon. Welcome to Guano Point, a high open spot on the rim of a very deep canyon and the stuff of my worst nightmares (and yes, that really is the name of the place).

I stood as close to the edge as I dared, fearing that vertigo would overcome me at any moment.  I felt almost as if I were outside myself, observing the scene, as snow began to fall and the other tourists wandered back to the warmth of the buses.  There was a silence broken only by the sound of the wind that buffeted the canyon.  All of things that I’d been feeling began to slip away – the anxiety, the sorrow, the fear, the deep physical weariness were gone, replaced by a stillness,  deep-seated feeling that I belonged to that moment, to that place, and to the universe.  I, this person who can barely tolerate a stepladder, walked to the edge of the canyon and watched the snow on its downward descent without fear.   It was an answer to a thousand prayers for a moment of peace both within and outside of myself.

I came away from Guano Point feeling a lot less ‘guano loco’ than I had in months and that feeling of profound calm and stillness stayed with me long after I’d flown home.  The day became a touchstone for me. When I find myself in deep guano, I imagine myself in Guano and know that I am capable of finding an even deeper sense of stillness and tranquility within myself.

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