“Look at that cutie!” Nyla spins towards me, her heels kicking up red dust into the sun-filled canyon of Utah’s San Juan River, raising her hand to show me what she’s got gently clasped between her eight-year-old fingers: a desert lizard.
The voice of our guide sways in the light breeze as she explains the origin story of the rock art on the Navajo sandstone wall behind us. It’s incredible and my wife is drooling over it, like much of the sights on our multi-day whitewater rafting trip. But Nyla has no interest in the life of ancient Basketmaker Indians from thousands of years ago. She’s absorbed with the lizards, the bugs, the sand, and the rushing current in this canyon. There’s something transcendent and magical about all of it.
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