There's nothing more breathtaking than standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon during a foggy snow. 🌄

A post shared by Jinapher J. Hoffman (@thejinapher) on

In Spring of 2017, my friends and I embarked on a cross country road trip — Florida to California — and our last stop was the Grand Canyon.

 

Around 3 or 4 in the morning, our mini van rolled at 5 mph on black ice and in the dark, hazy snow past the Grand Canyon’s park entrance. We crept slowly past quiet, Christmas lit log cabins and down around the bend to one of the parking zones.

 

We parked and most of us slept until the first rays of sunlight poked through our windshield. Outside, little snow flakes fell from the sky, and as the sun warmed the ground, shallow pockets of snow melted into mush. We climbed out of the van, doubling our layers and pulling down on our beanies.

 

Honestly, none of us had been aware the Grand Canyon even got snow.

 

We all split off, a couple of us went to build a snowman, while the others trailed behind for a bathroom break and snowballs. Soon, however, we all met up at a ledge overlooking a cliff jutting out into snow, gray nothingness.

 

It was a nice cliff possibly overlooking most of the canyon. We weren’t sure if we’d be able to see anything through the fog, even from the edge, but we knew we had to try.

 

I was the second one to make the journey down from the safety of the park pathway and onto the thin ledge of slippery rock that led to the cliff. Hugging trees and maneuvering my way up and over some rocks, I found myself standing at the edge.

 

My heart thumped with adrenaline. Despite the fog hiding the depths below me and the rock formations around me, my stomach was a hollow pit. I could just barely make out a dark mass in the distance — possibly another cliff — and I knew with one wrong step or too large of a gust of wind, I could plummet to certain death.

 

Standing there, I extended my arms. The fog was thick enough to block out my peripheral vision, and it felt as if I was floating within a cloud. In that moment, I felt so small, so vulnerable, yet I held all the power. The cliff could not push me off, but my own human error could.

 

There was something about feeling so vulnerable like that; it lessened the burdens of reality, because it was my choice to take a step back rather than a step forward.

 

I only stood there for a moment, but when I relive that moment in my head, it goes on forever. The fog was like a welcoming caress, embracing me and hypnotizing me. I felt mighty and small. It was as if I stared time in its face — I knew what was behind me, but I had no idea what stretched beyond, except for the blurry, gray fog.

 

When I turned away, I knew I had just witnessed something great. Without seeing anything except a blurry, distant mass, I knew I had been standing on the precipice of one of the world’s natural wonders. I shuffled through the snow back toward the safety of the trail with a new sense of self-worth. I was nothing but a speck of time, nothing but a body swaying on a dangerous edge, and somehow that comforted me.

 

It comforted me to feel small, because it made all the bad things in life feel small too. It felt good to know, even with all my plan-making and anxiety, the future of the world I lived in was unknown, and it felt good to not be so scared of the gray mass ahead.

Always,Jinapher J. Hoffman