My trip to Grand Junction, Colorado one fall painted a great visual of the word perspective (or point of view). Sitting on the left side of the plane, I followed the flight attendant’s instructions to buckle up as we began our descent. The Gunnison River joining it from the south, Grand Junction is nestled in the panoramic Grand Valley. Eager to survey the landscape through my tiny window, I was stunned at what I saw. Were we landing on the moon? I live in the Arizona Sonoran desert and had been looking forward to green—lots of green. While at another time I may have appreciated their unique layers and formations, from my vantage point the barren cliffs that stretched on for miles were anything but beautiful that morning. If there was life in those stark bluffs, it certainly was not evident from my perspective.
Where Two Rivers Converge
This was the first time I had seen Grand Junction from the air. My one other visit was decades ago when my folks had come by car along with three little girls vying for the outside seat in the back. Was this the pristine valley where the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers converge, and where as a child I remember eating homemade pie made from apples out of my Uncle Chester’s orchard in nearby Palisade? The scene in stark sepia this morning made we wonder about my childhood fantasy. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, but to this extent?
From Bluffs to a Plush Valley
I’m not an eager flyer, and typically my apprehension intensifies during the descent, but the bluffs that paralleled our approach took my attention away from the landing process. Is this where I would spend the next week with my longtime friend? I turned to look to the south out the window across the aisle. It was a small jet and only partially full, so there were no passengers to obscure my view. There were trees—lots of them. Grass blanketed the community for miles. Fruit orchards and vineyards dotted the countryside. Now, that’s more like it I thought as I braced for what I hoped was a normal landing. Indeed, my destination had transformed before my eyes. I looked back over my left shoulder. The barren cliffs were still there.
The Changing Landscape
Depending upon which window I looked through, the landscape fluctuated before my eyes. I could not help but compare my introduction to the grand valley to my outlook on life. I had looked through two opposing windows and learned an important truth. The down times, the ills, the trials and tribulations are always with us in one form or another. But the opposite side is always there, too. Could it be that the length of time I choose to tarry at one or the other is what determines how I think, how I react, and how I ultimately sum up life in its totality?
It Depends Upon Your Point of View
I would later learn that this range etched out the northeast side of the Grand Valley—and was known as the Little Book Cliffs. Somewhere high atop these cliffs herds of wild mustangs roam over land specked with sage and pinyon-juniper forests. Riders and hikers visit the untamed wilderness to enjoy glimpses of these herds and the vast valley below. If I tried, I could probably find something pretty fascinating there, but that day I preferred the greener side of the color palette.
I get excited at the daily illustrations God gives us. That morning he gave me a lesson about perspective.