Once I'm going, I want to keep going. So when Carol suggested another stop at yet another scenic overlook, I wanted to vote against it. As is only occasionally the case with Carol's suggestions, the decision was made before all the votes were counted.
The lookout was north of the town of Sedona, a little more than halfway between Sedona and Flagstaff. Earlier, just before we arrived in the town, Carol had turned off onto a random street, and we'd stumbled upon some of the most striking rock formations, deep red and imposing like giant sculpted monoliths. We were both gobsmacked, and when Carol suggested we get out and walk around, I, who almost never wants to get out and walk around, speechlessly agreed. It was better than any cathedral in Europe, which I never want to go inside anyway.
Later, at that final overlook, we didn't see anything quite as spectacular as that earlier stop, and I was antsy to get going again. "Let's walk around over there," Carol suggested, pointing to an area where most of the other people who'd stopped had clustered. Again Carol's instincts proved superior to my lack of any, and we suddenly found ourselves before a beautiful, fir-carpeted gorge that opened deep and wide to a blue horizon. It was then I had an epiphany that would provide the perspective I would need in just a couple of days hence.
I looked out over that gorge and thought how my mother would often see some beautiful scenery on some nature program on TV and utter, "How can they say there is no God?" Well, I looked at that magnificent topography of gorge and mesa and endless dimension and said, "How could we limit all this to just one God?" Why tie a single divinity down with so much minute detail? Why not a God in charge of gorge, another of mesa, still another for trees and so on? Isn't this the way the original inhabitants saw this place? Wouldn't it be wiser to go with the ancients, especially when they took such good care of it for 25,000 years, compared to what we're doing it in a little more than 500?
As I get older, I am becoming more persuaded by the animist tradition of everything organic and inorganic, animate and inanimate, natural and even man-made as possessing a spiritual divinity. To me it explains how we as humans can be capable of beauty and grace, love and compassion, while remaining rooted in a brutish ignorance that nevertheless seems to overcome us just when we think we're about to finally rise above it.
Later, I learned that Sedona is famous for its vortices, confluences of material and spiritual energy that attract many looking to discover, renew or recharge their divine selves. It had been Carol's discovery and suggestion that we visit here on our way to the Grand Canyon, and once again, I've learned to just follow her instincts and not bog her down with my tendency toward, well, just barreling ahead - marveling at the time we're making and the mileage we're getting.
Carol knows I've not been in a good place politically for the past two years. While she understands and is sympathetic up to a point, she also knows inherently and in a way I always seem to have to relearn, that life is basically good. It has to be if it contains the divinity I believe it does.
I'll learn to live with the Trump 2020 flags, because what we hate is based on fear and what we fear is based on ignorance. And ignorance is the only thing we should hate. (Keep repeating that, Reid.)
I've already started looking into Sedona vacation rentals for next year.