Grand Canyon Quotes

Quotes tagged as "grand-canyon" Showing 1-30 of 37
Ani DiFranco
“I love my country, by which I mean I am indebted joyfully to all the people throughout its history, who have fought the government to make right. Where so many cunning sons and daughters, our foremothers and forefathers came singing through slaughter, came through hell and high water so that we could stand here, and behold breathlessly the sight; how a raging river of tears cut a grand canyon of light. Why can't all decent men and women call themselves feminists, out of respect for those that fought for this?”
Ani DiFranco

Don Marquis
“Publishing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.”
Don Marquis

Jeri Smith-Ready
“Beautiful doesn't begin to describe it. A flower is beautiful. But this is beautiful the way that a person is beautiful- terrifying with its jagged edges, yet seductive with its crevices that hide so many secrets.”
Jeri Smith-Ready, Requiem for the Devil

“Every season has its peaks and valleys. What you have to try to do is eliminate the Grand Canyon.”
Andy Van Slyke

“The sky is a meadow of wildstar flowers.”
Ann Zwinger, Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon

“As dawn leaks into the sky it edits out the stars like excess punctuation marks, deleting asterisks and periods, commas, and semi-colons, leaving only unhinged thoughts rotating and pivoting, and unsecured words.”
Ann Zwinger, Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon

Kevin Fedarko
“if there is a point to being in the canyon, it is not to rush but to linger, suspended in a blue-and-amber haze of in-between-ness, for as long as one possibly can. To float, to drift, savoring the pulse of the river on its odyssey through the canyon, and above all, to postpone the unwelcome and distinctly unpleasant moment when one is forced to reemerge and reenter the world beyond the rim-that is the paramount goal.”
Kevin Fedarko, The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon

“I pace the shallow sea, walking the time between, reflecting on the type of fossil I’d like to be. I guess I’d like my bones to be replaced by some vivid chert, a red ulna or radius, or maybe preserved as the track of some lug-soled creature locked in the sandstone- how did it walk, what did it eat, and did it love sunshine?”
Ann Zwinger, Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon

“This landscape is animate: it moves, transposes, builds, proceeds, shifts, always going on, never coming back, and one can only retain it in vignettes, impressions caught in a flash, flipped through in succession, leaving a richness of images imprinted on a sunburned retina.”
Ann Zwinger, Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon

Paul Rudnick
“I believe in a benevolent God not because He created the Grand Canyon or Michelangelo, but because He gave us snacks.”
Paul Rudnick, I Shudder and Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey

Stefanie Payne
“There will never be a photograph of the Grand Canyon that can adequately describe its depth, breadth, and true beauty.”
Stefanie Payne, A Year in the National Parks: The Greatest American Road Trip


are there horizons
where there is no horizontal

where mountains fold space,
hold distance up?

embedded in a canyon
our heads tilt instinctively.

here earth meets sky,
we can reach it; the rim

does not shimmer and recede.

we lean into diagonal lives,
relieved of right angles

eyes, arms, hearts drawn
upward, vectored to ridgelines

keenly aware of the slant
of time, its shape and substance;

it is a wedge; it moves
along ray-stroked slopes;

we pass into it,
are passed over.”
Laurelyn Whitt

Carrie Saxifrage
“It seemed so improbable. But so did everything else that I really paid attention to.”
Carrie Saxifrage, The Big Swim: Coming Ashore in a World Adrift

“I sit watching until dusk, hypnotized. I think of the sea as continually sloshing back and forth, repetitive, but my psyche goes with the river- always loping downhill, purposeful, listening only to gravity.”
Ann Zwinger, Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon

“Unkar Delta at Mile 73
The layers of brick red sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone of the Dox formation deposited a billion years ago, erode easily, giving the landscape an open, rolling character very different that the narrow, limestone walled canyon upstream, both in lithology and color, fully fitting Van Dyke’s description of “raspberry-red color, tempered with a what-not of mauve, heliotrope, and violet.” Sediments flowing in from the west formed deltas, floodplains, and tidal flats, which indurated into these fine-grained sedimentary rocks thinly laid deposits of a restful sea, lined with shadows as precise as the staves of a musical score, ribboned layers, an elegant alteration of quiet siltings and delicious lappings, crinkled water compressed, solidified, lithified.”
Ann Zwinger, Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon

“The question haunted me, and the real answer came, as answers often do, not in the canyon but at an unlikely time and in an unexpected place, flying over the canyon at thirty thousand feet on my way to be a grandmother. My mind on other things, intending only to glance out, the exquisite smallness and delicacy of the river took me completely by surprise. In the hazy light of early morning, the canyon lay shrouded, the river flecked with glints of silver, reduced to a thin line of memory, blurred by a sudden realization that clouded my vision. The astonishing sense of connection with that river and canyon caught me completely unaware, and in a breath I understood the intense, protective loyalty so many people feel for the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. It has to do with truth and beauty and love of this earth, the artifacts of a lifetime and the descant of a canyon wren at dawn.”
Ann Zwinger, Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon

Stefanie Payne
“It is a spectacular illusion – a deeply three-dimensional scene flattened onto an earthly canvas.”
Stefanie Payne, A Year in the National Parks: The Greatest American Road Trip

“Powell was first of all a scientist with a deep curiosity about nature, and this curiosity motivated his explorations. Because Powell viewed the landscape and waterscape as a scientist, he realized that the arid West couldn't fit into America's Manifest Destiny dreams, and thus he became a pioneering conservationist.”
Don Lago, The Powell Expedition: New Discoveries about John Wesley Powell’s 1869 River Journey

“When visiting the Grand Canyon, make sure you hike into the canyon. And be careful not to fall or step in mule poop.”
McKenna Shay, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Trip: On the Road of the Longest Two-Week Family Road Trip in History

Zane Grey
“Armies of marching men told of that blight of nations old or young—war. These, and birds unnamable, and beasts unclassable, with dots and marks and hieroglyphics, recorded the history of a bygone people. Symbols they were of an era that had gone into the dim past, leaving only these marks, {Symbols recording the history of a bygone people.} forever unintelligible; yet while they stood, century after century, ineffaceable, reminders of the glory, the mystery, the sadness of life.”
Zane Grey, The Last of the Plainsmen

Zane Grey
“He meant the Grand Canyon was only a mood of nature, a bold promise, a beautiful record. He meant that mountains had sifted away in its dust, yet the canyon was young. Man was nothing, so let him be humble. This cataclysm of the earth, this playground of a river was not inscrutable; it was only inevitable—as inevitable as nature herself. Millions of years in the bygone ages it had lain serene under a half moon; it would bask silent under a rayless sun, in the onward edge of time.

It taught simplicity, serenity, peace. The eye that saw only the strife, the war, the decay, the ruin, or only the glory and the tragedy, saw not all the truth. It spoke simply, though its words were grand: "My spirit is the Spirit of Time, of Eternity, of God. Man is little, vain, vaunting. Listen. To-morrow he shall be gone. Peace! Peace!”
Zane Grey, The Last of the Plainsmen

“Mortals: meet
the empty air,
arias carved
out of rocks beyond
our puny clock
Thea Gavin

“Flash after flash across the horizon:
Tourists trying to take the Grand Canyon
By night. They don’t know
Every last shot will turn out black.

It takes Rothko sixty years to arrive
At the rim of his canyon.
He goes there only after dark.
As he stands at the railing, his pupils open
Like a camera shutter at the slowest speed.

He has to be patient. He has to lean
Far over the railing
To see the color as of darkness:
Purple, numb brown, mud-red, mauve
-an abyss of bruises.
At first, you’d think it was black on black
Something you son’t want to look at, he says

As he waits,
The colors vibrate in the chasm
Like voices:
You there with the eyes,
Bring back something from
The brink of nothing
to make us see.”
Chana Bloch

“Thomas Moran Paints

This place gets inside you with its soft reds
And tans. You can feel the lithe sweep of brushes
Inside your head. Your empty hands moving
From side to side involuntarily. It is like seeing
An angel’s brilliancy for the first time and trying
To describe it to your own soul in a language
Of the eye your heart can understand
The light is always different here getting darker
Near the river paler near the rim. But it is
The way the canyon breathes warm air rising
Cool air settling that makes the colors vibrant
Gives them luster. I can pile and scrape paint
On a canvas forever and miss the one rare
Note that hides in the throat of a canyon wren
But I can dream that bird within me and capture
It on silk where its song will bring this magical
Secret landscape into my art on its wings.”
Daniel William(s)

“Grand Canyon/West

Human stories roll across the
Landscape, demanding attention, voicing
Their energy, responding to my questions;
The land only vibrates in the wind.
Or not. Rocks and lava, caught in the moment
Of fall, of flow, expose fractured
Innards and cooled heat, vibrate only rarely.
These human voices and the tales they tell
Deflect with looks,their gestures,
Their act of giving me what it can feel
Myself, or at least understand. I can’t
Put myself in the pinyon’s place, trembling
At the edge, growing at the upper end of a
Human sized bowl, the lower end a slot i peer
Through to see the river’s ribbon, its white flecked
Trail through the deepest cleft of all. I can’t know
The pinyon’s mind , though I try.”
Mary Beath

“Sunrise, Grand Canyon

We stand on the edge, the fall
Into depth, the ascent

Of light revelatory, the canyon walls moving
Up out of

Shadow, lit
Colors of the layers cutting

Down through darkness, sunrise as it
Passes a

Precipitate of the river, its burnt tangerine
Flare brief, jagged

Bleeding above the far rim for a split
Second I have imagined

You here with me, watching day’s onslaught
Standing in your bones-they seem

Implied in the record almost
By chance- fossil remains held

In abundance in the walls, exposed
By freeze and thaw, beautiful like a theory stating

Who we are is
Carried forward by the x

Chromosome down the matrilineal line
Recessive and riverine, you like

Me aberrant and bittersweet...
Riding the high

Colorado Plateau as the opposing
Continental plates force it over

A mile upward without buckling, smooth
Tensed, muscular fundament, your bones

Yet to be wrapped around mine-
This will come later, when I return

To your place and time...
The geologic cross section

Of the canyon

From where I stand, hundreds
millions of shades of terra cotta, of copper

Manganese and rust, the many varieties of stone-
Silt, sand, and slate, even “green

River rock...”my body voicing its immense
Genetic imperatives, human

geology falling away
Into a

Depth i am still unprepared for
The canyon cutting down to

The great unconformity, a layer
So named by the lack

Of any fossil evidence to hypothesize
About and date such

A remote time by, at last no possible
Retrospective certainties...

John Barton”
Rick Kempa, Going Down Grand: Poems from the Canyon

“Eating Fruit at the Grand Canyon- A song to make death easy

Since this great hole in earth is beyond
My comprehension and I am hungry,
I sit on the rim and eat fruit

The colors of the stone i see,
Strawberries of iron cliffs, sagebrush
melons, white sand apple, grapes

The barely purple of the stonewashed slopes,
And every color I eat is in my vision,
Colonized by my eye, by me and everyone

I have known, so vast, so remote,
That we can only gaze at ourselves, wondering
At our reaches, eat fat fruit while we

Grow calm if we can, our folded
Rocky interiors pressed upwards through
Our throats, side canyons seeming almost

Accessible, the grand river of blood
Carving us even as we sit, devouring
Color that will blush on our skin

Nourish us so that we may climb
The walls of the interior, bewildered,
Tremulous, but observant as we move

Down in, one foot, another,
careful not to fall, to fall,
The fruit fueling us in subtle

Surges of color in this vastly deep
Where birds make shadow and echo
And we have no idea

Why we cannot comprehend ourselves,
Each other, a place so deep and bright
It has no needs and we wonder

What we’re doing here on this fragment
Of galactic dust, spinning, cradled,
Awestruck, momentarily alive.”
Diane Hume George

“This World

"We hear that other lands are better: we do not know. The pines sing and we are glad. Our children play in the sand and we hear them sing and we are glad. The seeds ripen an we have them to eat and we are glad. We do not want their good lands; we want our rocks and the great mountains where our fathers lived." A Shi’vwits chief to JW Powell

Sun on red rock
Raves riding thermals
Jays crazy in the pines

Big blue mountain
On the far horizon
And here- infinite air-

Moving, opening
East-west, north-south,
Up-down, high

Over the one-way river
The whole sky west.

What need
For any other world?”
Ken Lauter, Grand Canyon Days

“I would rather stumble by chance on a tiny stream in the woods than plan a trip to the Grand Canyon.”
Marty Rubin

“There seemed to be a pattern to the drips from each seep, a pattern I had heard before, wondering each time if there might be a sort of specific timing.... The sounds were predisposed, unaware of anything more important than their own syncopation.”
Craig Childs, The Secret Knowledge of Water

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