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The Trail of Time

Reed Venrick

Amy Brakeman Livezey

Trail Work, 12” x 12” 

mixed media on panel

The Trail of Time

Welcome to the Grand Canyon:

this short hike takes two billion

years—each step measures

one million years, so a person


walks two thousand steps, about

a mile, taking some 20 minutes

to walk along this south rim.


Two thousand—all the exercise

needed to walk back into the history 

of earth—see the trail along this canyon

rim, stretching along before you,


and as you hike and observe

the rocks that exist from 200 million years

ago to 1500 million years, you might

think that if humans had god-minds

and could expand consciousness to 


understand the meaning of living on this

soiled and stony ship, circling the eye of

a star, then anyone would be strong enough

to hike back down this trail a second time—

coming back into our century.


Twenty minutes down, twenty back—

that's all it takes. Each step, a million

years along this sandstone path, 

where a hiker will visualize all


earth colors of the imagination—

and imagine those animals and

dinosaurs that lived and died among

these rocks for more generations

than people could count in a life.


After all, 90 percent of humans, who

have lived on earth, have since passed

down this trail of time before they

they joined those yonder clouds 


above the canyon horizon, and all

the human lives that have stepped

on and pondered along those 

boulders under moon and starlight,


wondering why it all began,

realizing that the history and

the story of humans, is but a 

scratch on a slab of stone.


Yes, translate as we will, only

only the gods of this great, 

grand canyon can transcribe 

the symbology  that explains

why today—we walk down

this trail of time.

Reed Venrick lives in Key West, Fl.,  and usually writes poems centered on nature. He has taught English and linguistics in universities in Brazil and Japan, and published many poems and stories in online and print journals, most recently in Sky Island Journal, Edify Fiction, and DASH, at Cal State, Fullerton.