…the Canyon

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I don’t believe that there is anything else on earth like it.  It was fascinating to listen to foreigners and Americans alike as they came up to the rim of the Grand Canyon and saw it for the first time.  “Oh!”  “Oh, wow!”  “Holy cow!” (and a few other choice words).  It is stunning.  It is breath-taking.  It is spectacular, colorful, immense, frightening, beautiful.  It is, as I said, unique on the earth.

For me, I don’t know that I would ever get tired of seeing it.  I could go again and again and again.  The colors in the canyon change with the shifting play of daylight, cloud, sunrise and sunset.  I have never photographed it by the full moon, but I would love to do so.  Perhaps someday I will.  Though it is ageless, it is ever changing, shifting color and hue, crumbling rock and roaring river, ripping winds and changing with each season.

I am also terrified of the canyon.  It is beautiful to behold but also a serious place.  There is no wall that runs along the edge of the canyon.  With over 1300 miles of canyon on the south rim, it just isn’t feasible…and it would destroy the incredible beauty of the place.  The winds are often strong.  People lose their balance…they do foolish things.  Some die and others are shattered for life.

But there is something about the place that draws us to its majesty and grandeur.  Today’s photo was shot just about 10 days ago.  I focused on the trees in the foreground and purposely threw the background cliffs out of focus. It is as if the branches of tree may be waiting for an unwitting passer-by to grab him/her and hurl them to the rocks far below.

I was pleased with the result…it hints of the mystery of the canyon beyond the rim and whispers an invitation to take a closer look.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1897, the first copies of the classic vampire novel Dracula, by Irish writer Bram Stoker, appear in London bookshops.

A childhood invalid, Stoker grew up to become a football (soccer) star at Trinity College, Dublin. After graduation, he got a job in civil service at Dublin Castle, where he worked for the next 10 years while writing drama reviews for the Dublin Mail on the side. In this way, Stoker met the well-respected actor Sir Henry Irving, who hired him as his manager. Stoker stayed in the post for most of the next three decades, writing Irving’s voluminous correspondence for him and accompanying him on tours in the United States. Over the years, Stoker began writing a number of horror stories for magazines, and in 1890 he published his first novel, The Snake’s Pass.

Stoker would go on to publish 17 novels in all, but it was his 1897 novel Dracula that eventually earned him literary fame and became known as a masterpiece of Victorian-era Gothic literature. Written in the form of diaries and journals of its main characters, Dracula is the story of a vampire who makes his way from Transylvania–a region of Eastern Europe now in Romania–to Yorkshire, England, and preys on innocents there to get the blood he needs to live. Stoker had originally named the vampire “Count Wampyr.” He found the name Dracula in a book on Wallachia and Moldavia written by retired diplomat William Wilkinson, which he borrowed from a Yorkshire public library during his family’s vacations there.

Vampires–who left their burial places at night to drink the blood of humans–were popular figures in folk tales from ancient times, but Stoker’s novel catapulted them into the mainstream of 20th-century literature. Upon its release, Dracula enjoyed moderate success, though when Stoker died in 1912 none of his obituaries even mentioned Dracula by name. Sales began to take off in the 1920’s, when the novel was adapted for Broadway. Dracula mania kicked into even higher gear with Universal’s blockbuster 1931 film, directed by Tod Browning and starring the Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi. Dozens of vampire-themed movies, television shows and literature followed, though Lugosi, with his exotic accent, remains the quintessential Count Dracula. Late 20th-century examples of the vampire craze include the bestselling novels of American writer Anne Rice.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The most intensive Holocaust killing took place in September 1941 at the Babi Yar Ravine just outside of Kiev, Ukraine, where more than 33,000 Jews were killed in just two days. Jews were forced to undress and walk to the ravine’s edge. When German troops shot them, they fell into the abyss. The Nazis then pushed the wall of the ravine over, burying the dead and the living. Police grabbed children and threw them into the ravine as well.

 

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