Monday, October 26, 2015

back in New York

wish I could paint this scene
After three long days of driving, I arrived at my parents' house at 3am and got about nine hours of much-needed sleep.  Fall is still showing its colors here which is a change from Yellowstone where winter felt imminent.  I always love how strong I feel after living at over 7,000 feet and then heading down to sea level.  Of course, I'll lose that acclimation soon, but it feels good to walk up steep hills now without getting out of breath.  It's the little things.  Makes me think I'm in better shape than I am, I suppose.

a rabbit I spotted munching alongside the bike path
I'm happy to be around my beads again.  If I were not flying to D.C. tomorrow, I'd be pulling them out and working on things.  Alas, they will remain in their boxes under a sheet in my parents' attic until I return in three weeks time.  There are museums and monuments and statues and historic buildings to explore in the meanwhile.  Neighborhoods to walk through.  Farmers markets to peruse.  Ethnic restaurants to try out.  And, of course, a boyfriend and kitten to cuddle.  Miss Penny hasn't seen me in nearly five months.  Here's hoping she still loves me and will be happy to see me.

view of the Mohawk River

I want everything pumpkin right now (well, except for pumpkin pie) and hot chocolate and home-baked bread and real, NY style pizza.  After eating most meals in a cafeteria for the past four + months, I find myself craving the comfort foods I can't get while working in the park.  The local foods, the home-baked treats, the things I've enjoyed since childhood.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

things I'm going to miss

 chilly morning with fog spreading through the dead trees near Fountain Paint Pots
hard to tell from this photo, but the grass was covered with ice - eerie and beautiful at the same time

cottonwoods along the Yellowstone River - made me think of Klimt paintings
female wood duck - isn't she pretty?
really enjoyed watching these two drakes - aren't wood ducks just gorgeous?

Sleeping Giant, Livingston Peak and the Absarokas from Sacagawea Park in Livingston, MT

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A River Runs Through It

When I was a driver / guide in the park, guests would often ask “how did you end up in Yellowstone?” They would remark how New York seemed a mighty contrast and distance from Wyoming and Montana. My common reply was “Robert Redford.” I'd get quizzical looks, puzzled expressions most of the time. Occasionally someone would ask which of his movies inspired me to go west.

It was, without a doubt, A River Runs Through It. I clearly remember seeing that film in a small independent movie theater and walking out afterward feeling changed. Right then and there, I knew that one day I would have to see Montana. The rivers, the mountains, the green rolling foothills. The quaint small towns, the salt-of-the-Earth type people, and the respect and admiration for nature that is portrayed in that film planted a seed that would bring me to the Rocky Mountain west seven years later. I would fall in love with the town of Livingston where some of that movie was filmed. I would meet people who had met Mr. Redford, sold him props or costumes, took photos of the production and displayed them in a local sandwich shop for sale. Eventually, I lived there and bought a home there. I have always understood and appreciated the draw to nature and the serenity it can provide. But not until I came to Yellowstone sixteen years ago and explored this amazingly beautiful part of our world did I truly realize the magnitude of how much rivers, rocks, sunshine, trees - and solitude among them – mean to me. How intrinsic it is to my soul to take in such scenery and quietude.

I watched this movie again a few nights ago for the first time in years, and its importance resounded with me again. I have tears in my eyes typing this.

Once while staying in Moab, Utah, I heard an NPR interview with Robert Redford.  He told the interviewer he had picked up the book, written by Norman Maclean, and read the first line which is “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing.” He said he immediately flipped to the back of the book and read the last line which is “I am haunted by waters.” He realized quickly that even though he didn't yet know what happens between the first line and the last, he wanted to make it into a movie. Thank goodness he did.  

The movie inspired me as does the soundtrack. I bought it in Utah and remember sitting in my car in the dark, on a stretch of two-lane highway outside Springdale, Utah near Zion National Park, listening to it while looking up at the stars. Coincidentally, that spot was not far from the ghost town where parts of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were filmed.

If I ever have the good fortune to meet Robert Redford, I will be sure to tell him that his work has touched and influenced my life.  Amazing what a good film can do.  His narration is spot on as well.  He could be reading the ingredients on a soup can, and it would be worthwhile listening. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Foggy day in Old Faithful town


I walked to breakfast this morning and this song kept popping into my head.  Well, the Ella Fitzgerald / Louis Armstrong version of "A Foggy Day" which is a favorite of mine.  Granted, they were singing about London, but you get the gist.

Some bison and a young black bear have been wandering around the dorms and the employee pathways these days so a walk in the fog is done with trepidation.  About six weeks ago, many of us spotted a badger digging up hibernating ground squirrels right next to the sidewalk.  Also, a grizzly bear was harassed out of the geyser basin in front of the lodges with rubber bullets two days ago.  So...there is some heightened awareness to the wildlife in the park these days.  It's always on my mind - one has to be cautious in a place like Yellowstone.  That being written, I still talk to the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks pretty much every day.  They're quite a bit less scary even though ravens have poked several holes in my bike seat this summer.  So smart and so beautiful but often so mischievous!   


Friday, October 2, 2015

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit

On the first of every month, I try to remember upon waking to say "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit" before anything else.  It's thought to be an old English tradition meant to generate good luck for the entire month.  Yesterday I remembered, as I do most months.  It's become a sort of challenge to myself - if I say it, reminding myself the day before worked.  My memory hasn't been completely ruined by two winters at the South Pole.  Thank goodness!  

This morning I realized that I've never looked back at the end of a month and wondered if it was actually lucky.  I mean, what is luck anyway?  

I googled the definition.  Here's what I got:

success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions

Is luck a superstition or do I really believe in it?  I'm not entirely sure, but maybe come Halloween, I'll take a moment to look back and see if the good things in my life this October happened by chance or by my own hand.  I'll try to be objective.  

Meanwhile, here are some photos from my weekend.  A nice walk and a lovely drive through the Tetons.  Could fall be a more beautiful season?