A Poem & a Place

We Are 8 Billion Unique Windows on the World

A powerful spiritual insight from Mary Colter’s amazing Desert View Watchtower at the Grand Canyon National Park.

Alan Lew
5 min readJun 11, 2022

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The spiral stairs and Pueblo Indian art inside the Desert View Watchtower, by Alan Lew, author, cc-by

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I am fortunate to live close to the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. I have been there many times. My favorite place to visit in the park is the Desert View Watchtower at the East Entrance. I like the overall view from the tower of the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, and Painted Desert.

But I especially love walking up the Tower.

Architect Mary Colter designed the Desert View Watchtower, which was completed in 1932. Her intent was a design that matched the natural and cultural geography of the region. (You can read the Tower’s history and see photos and a video on the National Park Service website.)

What always amazes me about the tower is how each window in it gives a unique view of the Grand Canyon and its surroundings. The top and bottom floors have large picture windows. But in between, the windows are of varied sizes and seem randomly scattered as they follow the staircase to the top floor.

As I walk up the stairs that circle the inner wall of the tower, I always feel like each window is an individual and separate painting, worthy as a work of art. Each gives a unique perspective and tells its own story.

Together, the building and the windows (along with the Pueblo Indian designs that decorate the walls) masterfully capture the spiritual essence of the Grand Canyon and Arizona.

Each seemingly random window shows a unique view of the landscape at the Desert View Watchtower, Grand Canyon National Park, by Alan Lew, author, cc-by

The Desert View Watchtower

The Watchtower is a spiritual analogy of the experience of life.
It is one thing, an infinite circle with many windows.
And each window is an eye to a unique witnessing of the world.

Open your eyes and look.
Take in the entirety of your vision, your unique window on the…

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Alan Lew
New Earth Consciousness

Anything and Everything is Possible in an Infinite Universe — http://www.AlanLew.com (paywall-free article links)