If a rock falls in the park and no one is there, does it make any
noise? Wall Arch was a popular and well-photographed formation in Utah’s Arches National Park. No one heard the crash
when it fell, but thanks to the Internet the collapse was noticed around the world. The picture on cyber news matched the
image on our screen saver. We were there two years earlier, and must have snapped our picture from the same spot as the anonymous
It is a reminder that our ancient Earth is constantly undergoing change.
Even those things that stretch far beyond our short life spans are not forever. Years ago we visited Yellowstone after fires
raged through the park. Entire forests were reduced to bare sticks that littered the ground like giant toothpicks. By the
time we arrived, new trees had spouted up among the debris. We witnessed the beginning of a forest. Future generations would
gaze at mature pines and wonder what it looked like when it was new.
This summer we revisited Seven Falls in Colorado Springs. 224 metal
steps lead to the top for a stunning panoramic view. When younger, I had raced to the top. This time I trudged only to the
first landing. The steps were still there. They still led to the top. The view was available to some, but it was now out of
While I expect my furniture to wear out and the car to break down,
Wall Arch looked like it would last another thousand years. In its time, it was one of the most photographed formations in
the park and made an impression on those who passed by. The park has more fragile arches, and balanced rocks that appear ready
to topple at the slightest breeze. Yet it was Wall Arch that fell that day when no one was around.
It reminds me to be sensitive to the people and things around me.
As Yoda put it "Focus on where you’re at. What you’re doing." Whether we live on a popular trail that many travel
or a side path where few walk, we are here for a purpose. Our interactions with others will influence their future. Memories
created today will provide moments of reflection later. Wall Arch is no longer an arch, but it continues to pass across our
monitor. One slide in our screen saver. A moment captured in time that continues to inspire.
National Parks Traveler: