Thank goodness for the Rockefellers. Unless a student of philanthropy, the general connotation of the name may only imply oil-baron wealth or the occasional contribution to cultural antiquity. Actually bathing in the gifts bestowed by the family of Standard Oil, may seem a distant relic of the monopolies and generosities of the early twentieth century. Unless living near the world’s most famous Christmas tree, or working for the National Broadcasting Company in the Big Apple, perhaps those days of bygone gift-giving elude the general public. Not true!
Thanks to John Junior, I enjoyed a spectacular afternoon among the most breathtaking thirty-five thousand acres ever bestowed to the United States. As a gift to the National Park Service, and indeed to the world, and on a late summer afternoon to me personally, John Rockefeller, youngest child of the original oil tycoon, turned over some of the most breathtaking, inspiring, and spectacular scenery just down the street from the world’s first national park. With beer in hand, I toast this wondrous gift, and say, “Thank You, Mr. Rockefeller,” for giving it to me.
Thousands of adventures await the visitors of the National Park Service. Driving, diving, hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, exploring, spelunking, skiing, sailing, painting, picnicking and partaking in hundreds of unique settings besiege each visitor, fulfilling the interests of each unique observer. My favorite, and most fulfilling activity: sitting. Just sitting. Yes, it is far from glamorous, or even adventurous, but it is worth every second. Taking advantage of this school ending early for the year, we head to the Grand Canyon State for just that reason. At the edge of the colorful abyss, on the benches of the Grand Canyon Lodge, I rest my feet on a low stone wall. I want for nothing.
Sketching nearby, Son #2 recreates the passing clouds blowing eastward sprinkled with tiny figments of color barely noticeable against the blue sky. In the distance on the jutting vista, Son #1 captures the moment on film, securing the passing image on a fading medium. I still plan to raft down the canyon’s creating force in the future. Hiking from peak to valley will someday be checked off my bucket list. On the canyon floor I will pop a tent and gaze up the tall walls to the shimmering stars. But for this day, this beautiful, fleeting day, I choose to sit and spend every breathing moment I am able to savor with a view I never want to forget. Sometimes I like to spend my time just sitting in awe.