Saturday, October 13, 2018

Bucket List

Bucket List

Some might say that moving to a small village in France would be something for a bucket list, that our adventures and experiences here would take up a lot of the volume of a galvanized bucket. But, after awhile, can that bucket be replenished as it’s contents splash or trickle out?
I’ve never formalized a list of dreamed experiences. For now at least my curiosity has been satisfied with unexpected discoveries nearby or opportunities that arise randomly. These random adventures surprise me. I love them. I’m getting to know unknown places - they just aren’t fixed, prioritized, and listed.

A year or so ago Tom started talking about his bucket list. This seemed strange from someone that would rather have dirt or water in a bucket that is being used for “practical” things. When asked about his bucket list he said, “Go to the Grand Canyon” —and….. “That’s it.”
When we found ourselves with 10 days between a wedding in New Hampshire and a wedding in Michigan we decided to check off the one thing on Tom’s list. Is it ok to check off the first and last thing on your bucket list when you are just 60?

I guess if you only have the one thing you might as well go in a mind-blowing way. Being in the United States this trip was not exotically foreign. We didn’t raft the Colorado River, or hike, so the adventure was not physically challenging. This was an adventure that confronted the bounds of mental comprehension.

Those of you that have been to the Grand Canyon know how happy Tom was that this what inspired his one-experience long list. We got up before sunrise to find a place to sit quietly and watch the majesty of the sun forcing the colors of the canyon to change. The sun shadows played with and flattened and rounded the structures of the eroded landscape. Our brains tried to make peace with the volume before us in this sacred space. These quiet hours changed our lives. I don’t really know what I mean by “changed our lives.” It’s just that seeing the earth sculpted and formed by erosion and time and the power of the sun’s coloring palette strikes something new in your brain. 

We walked up and down the National Park’s South Rim Trail all day long for several days. Passing the same view point three, four, five times and never seeing the vista in the same way. We paused to read all of the geological information panels and looked at the canyon’s great variety of rock types. Tom recounted the story that had fixated him on the Grand Canyon in the first place. He’d read the  book The Emerald Mile, the true story of the fastest trip ever on the Grand Canyon portion of the Colorado River. He couldn’t stop wondering what it was that compelled folks to risk their lives on a rafting adventure down the muddy, dangerous Colorado River. Here, experiencing a tiny part of the canyon in person, we felt a connection to the draw and mystery of that Grand Canyon.

In the evenings we stalked the perfect lookout for sunset. Turns out everywhere is perfect and magical. Not a bad seat in the house.
 I can’t say how glad we are that we went out west. It’s too early to ask him, but I wonder if this has inspired any other adventurous ideas for Tom.

We’re back in our small village in France. The colors are different as the sun washes from morning to evening. Living under one of the tallest castle towers in France has a new perspective. Geology has shaped a quiet, narrow valley just perfect for filling up and emptying out a bucket full of dreams.