Grand Canyon Transformation - My Family Travels

Who are those crazy girls visiting the Grand Canyon? One’s so loud and one’s so quite. One has a spark to her eyes while the other follows and keeps a leash on the fun factor. One finds joy in the little things in life to make it worthwhile. The other stands around hoping something interesting might happen. Who is this second girl who resembles a dull pencil? The girl happens to be my old self. The other is my best friend since daycare, Kenzey.

Ever since Kenzey and I met in daycare we were a perfect balance. I was sure to have fun watching her play, and she could stay out of trouble with me around. When Kenzey’s mom passed away from a medical accident, Kenzey made a vow to never miss a moment of life. Kenzey immersed herself into life’s ocean while I was lucky to stand in a drizzle.

However, the Grand Canyon changed my view. What had the power to transform my lifetime that took 15 years to build? It was an elk. An elk? Yes, I insist that as the reader your eyes are not deceiving you because it was an elk.

Perhaps I should start from the beginning. When we finally arrived at the Grand Canyon campground, Kenzey was convinced there was no Grand Canyon because “we drove forever without seeing any orange rock that was big and pretty.”  She was determined there was nothing to see and the sites were definitely better where the “cute guys” were standing.

Since that happened to be by the restroom we decided to “wash our faces” when really we were just doing some “site seeing.” The “cute guys” were whispering and hushed us when we stepped toward them (“the restroom”). They pointed at something I first believed to be a tree with awkward branches.

Then the realization struck: the branches were sticking straight in the air. I gasped as I stared into the eyes of  a moose. “Kenzey, I’m going to go tell mom!” I exclaimed as I bolted back through the trees. “I’ll follow it,'”she said starting to sing the tune to “Mission Impossible.” I dashed back to the camp and screamed, “MOMMA there’s this moose the size of Texas!” One look at her face told me she thought this “moose” was a rouse to get her up from her nap.

“I’ll prove it to you momma,” I said taking off with the digital camera. When I returned to the spot Kenzey was still standing there with the “moose” in front of her, but when its eyes fell on me it bolted off. “That’s a pity, you girls shouldn’t run after the elk though, it’s dangerous when it wants to be,” we were warned by one of the “cute guys.”

“I’ll take my chances,'” I stated. After all guys were a waste of time, some site they were anyway. I’d take the elk any day and with that thought in mind I made a rule-breaking decision. I took off running. It was a surprise to be in the lead with Kenzey right behind until finally the elk topped to munch. We took our pictures and then Kenzey led the way out. We walked back in pain and crying from laughing so hard. We stopped laughing long enough to show my mom our pictures. She seemed impressed but curious as to why we’d do something so stupid. Looking back into the memory pockets of my photo album, we must have let go of sanity. The elk wasn’t tamed and the “cute guys'”were right in their warning. The park ranger made that clear in his warnings in the “Don’t-feed-the-squirrels-or-touch-poison-ivy” safety lecture. Yet when I flip forward I see the summer change before me. I notice myself with short skirts, bikinis (that magically appeared), and a smile that replaced the camera’s flash.

The following August marked the beginning of a new school year. My friends thought someone must have stolen my body because this was no Tiffany they remembered. My smile remained to spread through thick times like a knife through butter. I finally found my voice which now ricochets off the walls. My eyes light up like fireworks reflecting off mirrors. Yet the most important thing I kept was that strong determination to make the most of the little elks in life.

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