Meditations in the National Parks comes from my learning in nature. Inspired by contemplative spirituality, I’ve meditated and taken notes in the parks. This series is the formation of those meditations. All words and photographs are my own.

As I trod through the Badlands, the greyness overcame me. Grey ahead of me, grey behind me. To my left and to my right, grey. The dirt beneath me was grey, and on this day, the sky too was grey. 

The greyness fit the terrain. It was hostile and demanding. The grey required attention, as depth became blurred and disorienting. The grey ground under my feet was delicate, bristle and dry from periods of drought. The delicacy sobering, the harshness deafening. The grey here is diverse and unconfined in this vast landscape. Grey is expansive. 

At first glance, grey is bland. Is it even a color? Is it some transition between black and white? Surely there must be more to grey than some state of inbetween. With all due respect to black and white, grey neither owes its existence to them, nor exists simply to provide foundation between those seemingly warring contrasts. The grey beckons and begs to be seen for what it is, divinely grey.  

“It is okay to live in the grey”, as the saying goes. But the grey of Badlands says more than that. It is if the land is screaming “I am grey, and that’s more than okay”. 

The invitation of this grey land is simple: come in and just be. It’s enough to simply exist. Grey does not demand your best. Grey doesn’t want your successes. Grey just wants you. Grey will ask that you look past the facade of glamour and riches. It cares not of your stature. Grey humbles. 

Are you lamenting loss? Grey sees your tears. Has memory plagued your thoughts and left you feelings isolated and alone? Grey will comfort. Feeling elated? Then dance in the grey.

Grey welcomes you wherever you are, and will provide trails to where you want to go. Grey wants to share with you its lessons, simply be. That’s where true beauty resides. 

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