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大峡谷

2006-07-29 14:37

  A famous American John Muir said in 1898: “The Grand Canyon… as unearthly in the color and grandeur and quantity of its architecture as if you had found it after death on some other star.”

  Like Muir, those of us who stand along the rim are prompted to wonder about the unearthliness and the forces that created and are still changing this place

  After more than 100 years of studies, many things are still obscure. Today visitors come by the thousands - the great and simple of the earth - all in a spirit of marvel. Travelers come from every state of the Union, from every country in Europe and Asia, pilgrims to a shrine that is the same as the creed.

  From the depths of the canyon comes welling silence. Seldom can you hear the roar of the river.You cannot catch the patter. Like applause, from the leaves of the cottonwoods on the shelf-like plateau below you. For all sounds are swallowed in this gulf of space. ‘It makes one want to murmur.' A woman once whispered to her companion. This silence is not the silence of death; rather, it is a presence. It is like a great piece of music. But music made of man works up to a climax and ceases; the Grand Canyon is all climax, a chord echoing into eternity.

  Perhaps the most spectacular feature of the Grand Canyon, its Redwall limestone cliff, stands about half way up the chasm and is practically vertical. Its average height is 550 feet —— almost exactly that of the Washington Monument. Though it is actually gray-blue limestone, the surface of the cliff has been stained to a sunset hue by iron salts washing out of the rocks. Above the Redwall come alternating layers of red sandstone and shale 1,000 feet thick, then comes the next pale-blue layer. The topmost layers are a yellowish limestone.

  Now, visitors to the South Rim alone may number 18,000 in a single day. Some of that number will travel by mule train down Bright Angel Trail to the canyon's floor, cross the raging river by a suspension bridge and amount to the North Rim.

  Though the two rims face each other across only 12 miles, it is a journey of 214 miles by car from one to the other. Nor can you visit the North Rim except in summer; some 1,200 feet higher than the South Rim, it is snow covered much of the year except in July and August.

  But there is no day that you may not visit the South Rim and find the sun warm on your face and the air perfumed with the incense of smoke from an Indian hearth. The Grand Canyon is an unearthly sight. No wonder an American writer and journalist said, “I came here an atheist, and departed a devout believer.”

  一位著名的美国人约翰?缪尔曾在1898年说过:“(科罗拉多河的)大峡谷……它的色彩和构造的宏伟多样是世上所无的,就像是人消亡以后在别的星球上发现的东西。”

  和缪尔一样,站在大峡谷边缘的人们顿时对这里的超凡脱俗,对那种创造并仍在改变这个地方的神奇力量感到惊奇。

  经过了100多年的研究,有许多事情仍是个谜。今天,数以千记的游客——不管是普通人还是大人物——都怀着一种好奇的心情来到这里。他们来自于美国的第一洲,来自于欧洲和亚洲的每一个国家,就像朝圣者一样虔诚地来到这座神殿。

  峡谷深处静寂无声。我们很少听见河水的咆哮声或下面壁架式高原上三角叶杨树发出鼓掌般的 啪声。因为这一切声音都在这深渊的空间被吞没了。一位女游客对同伴说,“它让人禁不住地低声细语。”这种寂静不是死一般的沉寂;相反,它是万物存在的宁静。它就像一曲伟大的乐章。人类创作的乐曲逐渐进入高潮,但也有终止的时候,而大峡谷则高潮迭起,是永远回荡不止的和音。

  也许,大峡谷最引人注目的风貌特色是“红墙”石灰石悬崖,它耸立在裂口半当中,几乎是垂直的。它的平均高度为550 英尺——几乎和华盛顿纪念碑一样高。虽然它实际上是灰蓝色的石灰石,但是从岩石里渗出的铁盐却把悬崖表面染上了晚霞般的色彩。在“红墙”的上方,是红色的沙岩和1 000 英尺厚的页岩交替 层,然后是浅蓝色的沙岩层,最上层是淡黄色的石灰石。

  现在,每天来大峡谷南缘观光的游客大概有18000名,其中有的会乘坐小型电动机车沿着“光明天使小道”来到谷底,穿过波涛汹涌的河道上方的吊桥,然后到达北缘。

  尽管南北两缘面对面相隔只有12英里,可是坐车从一边到另一边的距离却是214英里。北缘只能在夏天参观;它比南缘高出1 200英尺左右;除了7、8月外,其它大部分时间都为冰雪覆盖。

  然而南缘任何时候都欢迎人们的来访。在那里温暖的阳光照在人们的脸上;空气中弥漫着印第安香炉中散发出的烟香气。大峡谷是一道超凡脱俗的风景。难怪一位美国作家兼记者说:“我来这里时还是个无神论者,离开时却是个虔诚的信徒了。”

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