I landed in Vegas, grabbed a burger, and then pointed my rental south toward Kingman. The high winds and low sun made the driving interesting, especially as I flipped through limited radio stations for a song I could hum along to as I surveyed this last great American wilderness.
Driving south on 93 you'll only find pop-up gas stations and a few other shops, all set close to the road while the carved mountains and rocky terrain provides a consistent backdrop. "This is where Cars was filmed," you think to yourself before you remember that Cars was drawn and designed in an air conditioned studio near other air conditioned studios.
And as the sun sank lower, I noticed a pullover spot with a sign that read simply: Scenic View.
I had time on my side so I pulled over. "Let's see what's so scenic about this view," I said to myself as I parked, hopped out, and walked to the overlook.
And then I saw this:
The Colorado River cutting so slenderly through the mountain pass, the sun falling lower into the sky, the wind blowing my hands and hair as I steadied my phone for a picture.
I pressed the camera button, which is a touch ironic since the average camera today doesn't look like a camera anymore, but rather like a phone.
And I took a seat.
Beauty should do this to you. It should give you pause.
Striking beauty, be it in nature, in a story, in a person's face, in a song, or in a scientific discovery should make you stop whatever it is you're doing. Beauty is so important that it should make other things less important.
This is how you know when the beautiful has arrived: It rips you out of your routine and forces you to question why you were going so fast in the first place. Our quest to do more and do it all more quickly is proven a foolish one; our quest should be to find more beauty in our world.
A beautiful woman walks in the room and you see if you need to reset your watch because you swear time stood still. You let your phone buzz or blink and ignore it because your child is telling you about her day at school and what she found on the playground and do you have a place to put the treasure map she's drawing and when will it be bathtime and tonight let's put bubbles in the tub. You press repeat on the playlist because that third song gets you every time. Tears roll down your face at the wedding while she dances with her dad to the perfect song and it feels like it's just you and those two in the room and you want your daughter to stay three forever but maybe it's okay if she gets bigger if it leads to a dance like that for you, too. The golf shot, the homerun, the dunk, the backhand volley, the photo finish, the Ironman stories, the guy who pushes his son in a wheelchair in every race, those who scale Everest, those who would dare break barriers - it's all arrestingly beautiful and if we don't stop, we'll miss it.
Don't miss out on beauty. If you do, you'll miss out on life.
Because - as they say - life is beautiful.