Several years ago, over the summer, my family and I made our first trip to Utah and some of its most famous national parks including Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. This past summer we made our second trip but this time we visited Arches National Park, Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point State Park, and my favorite, Angels’ Canyon near Kanab, Utah, home of Best friends Animal Sanctuary.
But the activity that I was most looking forward to was making the hike to Delicate Arch at Arches National Park a few miles outside of Moab, Utah. This natural arch is probably the most famous arch in Utah because of its rare, freestanding form and the fact that it is on nearly every Utah souvenir and car license plate.
The hike is about 4 miles round trip with some significant altitude change but in my mind, there is no doubt that every minute was worth it. Getting to see this famous arch in person was amazing and an experience that can’t be described or replicated elsewhere. It is a perfect masterpiece of nature, and when it falls, like all arches eventually do as a result of weathering and erosion, the world will be without this amazing arch.
There are so many other forms of nature that have all come close to portraying my idea perfection; the view from several hundred feet above the Colorado Plateau, the valley of HooDoos in Bryce Canyon, and the view from Mesa Arch in Canyonlands that makes you feel so tiny and helpless as you look at the growing crack between the arch and a sheer rock cliff. But what is perfection and is there really any quantifiable way to declare something as perfect?
Perfect: (adj.) having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.
While this may be the dictionary’s (Google’s) definition of perfection, nearly every other person would come up with their own interpretation and definition that would differ, even slightly, with those of other people. What influences this definition of perfection? Is it our background, our experiences, or something else? Could it be the way we think or the various types of people we include in our lives? Who defines the subject’s “desirable” elements and is there really a way to precisely define without a shred of doubt, the qualities needed to be labeled as “perfect”.
I think that “perfect” is a word that can be defined but is also impossible to define. You can say that it means “something is without flaws” but sometimes those flaws can make something, by personal definition, perfect. The crack running between Mesa Arch and the cliff (as mentioned above) is what some people might call a flaw but can’t it also be a rare and unique characteristic of a formation that is also few and far between? The crack won’t get smaller but it’s evolution will make it bigger until eventually there won’t be a crack or an arch left to admire but simply nothing. Wouldn’t the loss of this piece of art make every moment you got to spend in the presence of its existence even more important and in a way even more perfect? After all, those moments can’t be replicated because time goes on and not a single second will ever repeat itself.
So, remember that you can never go back in time but you can make your experiences worth something. You can make them count and you can find your own definition of perfection in your surroundings. It doesn’t have to be “flawless” or “faultless” to be perfect, it just has to matter.