V = Vastness

With today’s V-word,  I’m venturing into the great vastness we are sometimes lucky enough to experience.  The following are my adventures that have left me breathless – like my chest was going to explode – because of the sheer immensity of what was before me.

This is my top 3 list of experiences into the GREAT VASTNESS …

1) the night sky in the Australian Outback was – by far – the most overwhelmingly magnificent experience.  Night in the Outback is dark – blacker than black – and on this clear night I really experienced the vastness of the universe for the first time.

The Milky Way was so rich in depth, it was almost three-dimensional in texture.  I felt like I could be swallowed into it.


Photo from Sporlederart.com

I’ve experienced magnificent night skies – the great blackout on the Eastern Seaboard in 2003, Kilimanjaro, the African Serengeti, Mauna Kea in Hawaii – but none of them has ever compared to that one night in the Outback.

2) the second great vastness would have to be the Grand Canyon.  Standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon, I was – and still am – at a loss for words.  I simply could not wrap my head around what my eyes were seeing.  ‘Grand’ doesn’t cover it.  It was like there was a great magnetic that kept pulling me back to the rim to just stare in awe.  I felt a great sense of loss in finally having to leave this place.

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3) rounding out my list would be the view from the top of Kicking Horse Mountain in Golden, British Columbia.  On a beautiful summer afternoon, we hiked from the ski resort to the top of a neighbouring peak to see the panaramic view.  We were treated to a vista of mountain peaks in every direction as far as the eye could see.

I later learned a little bit about BC’s mountain ranges.  As an Easterner, I’ve always thought of them generically as the Rockies.  In fact Kicking Horse is part of the Purcell Mountains and is surrounded by the peaks of both the Rocky and Selkirk Mountain Ranges.

Photo from Wikipaedia

Photo from Wikipaedia

This wasn’t my first experience with mountains – in Canada, France, Switzerland – but it was certainly the most breathtaking, likely because of the clear, bright day we had been given.

Each of these three experiences has been a reminder of nature’s splendor and how tiny and insignificant we are in the grand design.  The vastness of all three of these places left me with the feeling that I had been given the opportunity to touch the universe.

I’ve never felt so small and so immense at the same time.


About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge - 2014, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to V = Vastness

  1. These do speak so perfectly to the concept of vastness and as you say our very small part in the scheme of things! Great post – thanks.


  2. M-R says:

    I LOVE that, Joanne – your final comment. I get so tired of reading how small someone feels, when in fact the very fact of the immensity should make us realize we’re part of it … Triffic !!


  3. I have been to two out of your three places. That Outback night sky is truly amazing, in fact I found that vast could describe the Australian Outback any time of the day or night. You have been to some amazing places which I hope to get to one day 🙂


  4. What an interesting post for a difficult letter! I’ve only been to your No. 2. Nothing really prepares you for that first step up to the edge. My fist sight of GC was visceral – not something you can describe or capture. But great pics! lol


    • joannesisco says:

      I think I know what you mean by the visceral reaction to seeing the GC for the first time – although I’m pretty sure that I could visit it over and over again and have the same reaction. It is a place I FELT so deeply.


  5. sueslaght says:

    Great captures of vastness Joanne. During our time in the Grand Canyon I at times was overwhelmed by the immensity and beauty. Of course our beautiful Rockies often spur that sense for me as well. I’m going to have to check out Australia!


  6. These are amazing vignettes, Joanne. I have not yet been in a place that was completely dark and free of light pollution, but dark enough and even that was almost too powerful to bear.
    I’m learning so much about Canada from your A-Z, too. Did not know about the Purcell Mountains, but I did know about Kicking Horse, cuz I drink the coffee from the coffee roasters there!
    Did you travel for work?


    • joannesisco says:

      LOL – I love Kicking Horse coffee too!!

      No – I didn’t travel for work. I’ve just been very fortunate to have been able to travel for pleasure. Many years ago when we were contemplating buying a much bigger house, we realized that we would rather spend our money experiencing life instead of accumulating stuff. A bigger house would have meant a much bigger mortgage and then buying more stuff to fill the bigger house.
      Life is too short and we don’t know how much of it we’re going to have. So we stayed in our small, modest home, live a relatively modest lifestyle … but have – and hopefully will continue – to travel extensively 🙂
      Like I said, I’ve been lucky!


  7. ponymartini says:

    Amazing photos! Perfect on a dreary day trapped in a beige cube. Here’s to the great outdoors!


  8. nancytex2013 says:

    I’m planning a rim-to-river hike of GC in the coming months, and (if I can round up a few friends) a rim-to-rim hike in maybe July/Aug. Really hoping that one or both come together shortly. GC is, indeed, an awe-inspiring place.


  9. Kathe W. says:

    we have wonderful skies where we live as there is zero light pollution- no one around! Am enjoying your A-Z’s!


  10. They look absolutely breath taking but I’ve got to admit, I prefer looking at your pictures than possibly visiting the places myself-I’m scared to death of heights but I also get that same feeling when I’m stood at the base of something huge and looking up. I’m a coward lol :/ xx


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