By John Charles Van Dyke
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Additional resources for Grand Canyon of the Colorado: Recurrent Studies in Impressions and Appearances
For all her gay display her repose is not ruffled. In the final Page 9 analysis that repose is, here as elsewhere, her most dominant and impressive quality. Naturally, after so much that is amazing and some that is harrowing, one at first is more or less bewildered. You cannot step out of the monotony of a railway-car and, walking a few steps, enter upon something that is the last word in grandeur and sublimity without catching your breath and gasping a bit. Some people stand and stare with their mouths ajar, some whistle or talk unconsciously to themselves, some sit down and softly swear.
Furthermore, as concerns converting disadvantages into advantages, Van Dyke realized that many readers would walk with his book in hand, using it as a guide to the Grand Canyon. So, well and good, it would have to be a guidebook. But it would be a guidebook on his own terms, based on his way of seeing the natural world. The Grand Canyon stands apart from other works on the subject because it actually is two books woven into one, a practical guide working in service of an esthetic treatise. Van Dyke presents the attraction as far more than a collection of natural curiosities.
The lights shift almost like the footlights in a ballet, showing a silver, a saffron, a pink, a heliotrope. The mornings are perhaps all blue and gold; the evenings all rose and violet. As for the atmospheres, the Canyon depths will reveal aerial blues at almost any time, but at dawn and sunset the envelope may thicken to a haze of pale gold or lilac or purple, and with dusk it sinks into a strange night blue. Page 7 The Colorado! Why, yes; this is the valley it has cut, and the River itself is down there, but you cannot see it!