I’m sure I first saw this view in my childhood  in an old Western movie. Most recently, as I read Anne Hillerman’s Rock with Wings, I could picture this panorama as her word pictures of the Mo100_0815.JPGnument Valley described these “mittens.”

Notice the cars along the road. That gives us an indication of the majesty  of the scene. I took this photo just before my wife Joan and I hiked around the base of the monuments, awestruck.

The word “awesome” is still bandied about as a tired descriptive, often denoting something that is not at all awesome, at least not like this place. I am captivated by the immense creations of human design. Standing next to a locomotive, boarding a cruise ship, gaping at Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” while on a western vacation…for some reason, I am fascinated by such things. But even more so, the grand expanse of natural beauty: the sea, Niagara, the Grand Canyon, and, here, Monument Valley. Truly awesome.

Maybe you’ve encountered that quotation of Kant’s: “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe…: the starry heaven above me and the moral law within me.” At least that was true that particular day after Kant had had his coffee and took time to list the wonders of his life. Maybe a day or so later, he might have drawn another conclusion.

During Lent, we might consider what things fill our minds with new and increasing wonder and awe. No need to limit the list to two. I imagine Jesus in the wilderness, maybe like the terrain above but without the monumental formations, discovering new things in his vision quest. Perhaps the awe of sufficient food to eat, the wonder of angels ready to swoop down, or having the awesome political power to rule the world. Or, maybe just the sunrise one particular morning among the forty in the desert.

I’m looking again at that photo, appreciating the overwhelming beauty of that comparatively small bit of creation, respecting its awesomeness…and thinking about what else in my life has prompted or will yet prompt an involuntary “Wow!”

Lent leads me to head the list with the grace of God.