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Post details: The Canyon Book

The Canyon Book

Much like the Grand Canyon, a good novel has multiple layers. While the main characters hash their way through the jungle of its plot, the book displays the unfolding drama simultaneously on several interconnected platforms, thus illuminating its salient aspects one by one. Life is intrinsically multifaceted, and because art loves to imitate it, most novels are like that. Their narratives cascade down in a host of parallel interactions without delineating clear borders between the individual fates. Flat linear stories wouldn't make the reality very enticing, would they?

Yet that's exactly what many tourists choose when they arrive at the edge of the Grand Canyon. They pop into the Visitor's Center and then they orderly skirt the rim, moving from one bus stop to another and clicking their point-and-shoots in a rhythmical monotony of marital conversation. They do get to see new formations at every overlook, but view them from the same elevation and consequently from the same vertical angle. Yep, even the Grand Canyon has a generic version. And that's all they get for their clicking efforts, unless they discover one of the inconspicuous inner trails and have a good sense of hopping on it.

Then the great book of the Colorado river suddenly opens. Every leg of the winding path opens a new chapter which shows its protagonists from a wide variety of angles - whether they be the protruding mesas, solitary buttes, massive promontories, labyrinthine inner canyons, half hidden precipices, rambling ridges or awe inspiring rock faces. Sometimes you can barely hang onto the steep path but the effort is richly rewarded. The elements that were almost invisible from the top now blossom in front of your eyes and even the previously seen features are altered by the new perspective and the slanting sun rays. And I am not even mentioning the endemic views that every elevation offers - the configurations that you simply won't see from anywhere else.

Trekking through life is a similar experience. You can view it from the rim, never leaving the social layer you happen to belong to, or you can find a concealed spoor and delve into it headlong. Despite of what your peers tell you, you may discover that every stratum has its unique and not easily emulated charm. That's mostly because fun is amazingly ubiquitous. A cushioned seat in the symphony hall can support just as much audio bliss as a wooden bench at a jazz concert. A margarita sipped at an opening night in an art gallery is as refreshing as a cold glass of beer downed after a soccer game. Whether you choose yacht or canoe, golf or bowling, National Audubon Society or a local club for advanced knitting techniques, new vistas will open right in front of your eyes. And best of all, denizens of each subculture will give you a different take on life. Sure, strutting out of a sailor's tavern in a deeply stewed disposition may compromise your social standing, but you will discover colors unseen. For the great thing about life is that it bursts with flavors no matter where you bite into it.

Just like the canyon trail.

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