Bits of Travel at Home (1878) by Helen Hunt Jackson
As I looked up from the ford to the mouth of the canyon, I was reminded of some of the grand old altar-pieces of the early centuries, where, lest the pictures of saints and angels and divine beings should seem too remote, too solemn and overawing, the painters used to set at the base, rows of human children, gay and mirthful, leaping and laughing or playing viols.
So lay this sunny belt of sparkling water, glistening sand, and joyous blue blossom, at the base of the picture made by the dark mouth of the canyon, where two great mountains had recoiled and fallen apart from each other, leaving a chasm, midway in which rose a smaller mountain of sharp rocks, like a giant sentry disputing the way.
Forests of pines fill the rift on either side this rock, and their dark lines stretch high up, right and left, nearly to the top of each mountain.
Higher and ruggeder peaks rise beyond, looking as if they must shut the canyon sharply, as a gate closes an alley; but they do not.
Past them, among them, in spite of them, the creek took its right of way, the mountains and rocks yielded, and the canyon winds.