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.
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.
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.
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.