Although our viewing of the Canyon was short, we were able to stay until the stars came out. The brightness of the moon made their light dimmer but, on the upside, it made the snow glow so that even in the dark we could see quite far into the canyon. We started our descent, back to the main roads, back to fluorescent lights and not so open spaces. Yet, reluctant and freezing as we were, we stopped at a look out and managed to get out and be in awe one last time and watched our breath clouding away into the vastness around us. The next morning we woke up to a red sun and drove out toward Yosemite for the day. At this point, my voice was finally returning and slowly my sanity too–so thankfully, my crankiness receded, and I accepted that this trip had to be fluid, that the way to the grandiose moments was just as valid and important, because truly most of my life is spent in that road, in the in-between… and the extraordinary glimpses are few and far between unless I learn to sit in awe of the daily gifts, as small as they may seem. So the highway was filled with little moments of awe as the landscape changed from the warmly toned, grand rocks to green hills. Even the ones covered with windmills were quite beautiful. Driving up the winding road, it seemed other-worldly, with it’s lush rolling hills and gnarly trees, it looked like a shire right out of a Tolkien book. The further up we drove, the more our excitement grew. There were slight openings in the tree line that allowed us the vistas beyond. Our timeline was off once again, and we calculated that the time it would take us to get just to the tunnel view, would put us there right at sunset. This time we just lived up the moment before us and tried to capture that heart racing, wide-eyeness, that epic feeling when you are in the brink of something great. Finally we entered the tunnel, it’s length seemed far too long and I felt like we were moving in slow motion, but soon we emerged to the view of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, The half dome and Bridal Veil falls… our jaws dropped. There was a handful of people there, taking pictures, hurrying about. The sun was sinking fast, creating a crisp line on our view. The chill of the air felt good to my lungs, and I walked right up to the edge. Speechless we looked out and just received the gift of being a witness to such grandeur, that gift of feeling small, the gift of trying to contain this moment in our memory for days to come.