Sunday, August 5, 2007

232)Its been one amazing trip so far!

Its been some trip so far! We left Toronto, Ontario, Canada and so far have wound our way through Windsor, Ontario to Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Still to come are Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario to complete the circle.

Historical landmarks and the most awesome natural vistas have made this trip very worthwhile. Coupled to this is the fact that my travelmate, mon cher fils, is doing most of the driving and allowing me to rest my ailing back and neuropathic lower extremities. This is the kind of trip I would wish every father and son to do at least once in a lifetime, one that creates an unforgettable memory and cements even further a strong bond.

We tried to stay as much as we could on the fabled "Route 66"(Google it) while also absorbing the most varied scenery and vistas one can find in a single country and continent. We are still doing Highway 1 on California's Pacific coast and, while trying to forget that a good chunk of this state may some day break off this side of the San Andreas fault and disappear under the Pacific Ocean, the sights, sounds and smells have been awesome. The earlier highlights so far for me have been the southern Rocky mountains and the Grand Canyon. I have already talked about mountains in my last post. We took a plane ride over the Grand Canyon in Arizona and marvelled at this natural wonder of the world. The entire Canyon is 277 miles long, 10 miles wide and 1 mile deep. The elevation of this part of the southwestern United States is about 6000 feet above sea level. Over a period of 2 to 6 million years the Colorado River and its tributaries have sliced a hole 1 mile deep(about 5028 feet) to the bottom of the Canyon, showing the unrelenting erosive power that flowing water can have on the hardest granite rock given enough time. Other erosive processes involving wind, rain and soil erosion, collectively termed 'weathering', are responsible for creating the 10 mile width of the Canyon. The sheer size of the place and overwhelming tranquility that greets you at first sight reminded me of the following saying of Mowlana Hazar Imam, Aga Khan IV, from 1983:

"Indeed, one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened and continues to open new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation."
(Aga Khan IV,Speech, 16 March 1983, Karachi, Pakistan)

To underscore the fact that the creation is dynamic and not static, our tour guide told us that in another thousand years, the Canyon will be one foot deeper than it is currently. Its a slow but unrelenting process.

I'm looking forward to Mt. Saint Helens, Yellowstone National Park, the Oregon Trail and Glacier National Park in the days ahead, Inshallah.

Carmel-By-the-Sea, California, U.S.A.

Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation:Aga Khan 4(2006)
The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being:Aga Khan 3(1952)
Our interpretation of Islam places enormous value on knowledge. Knowledge is the reflection of faith if it is used properly. Seek out that knowledge and use it properly:Aga Khan 4(2005)
All human beings, by nature, desire to know(Aristotle, The Metaphysics, a few hundred years BC)