Thursday, July 23, 2009

Today we left for Colorado at 6:30 AM. We once again entered Yellowstone through the west entrance and, once again, met up with Family Bison. Only this time because of the early start there were only four cars on the road so no delays. But, we did get to see the Bison family up close and personal. They just do their thing. Good for them.
After many delays due to roadwork construction we exited the park and headed for Dubois, Wyoming. The Wind River has carved a splendid canyon just outside of Dubois that extends for miles. The canyon is narrow and small but full of an array of iridescent reds, crimsons, and various tints of purple. It was very reminiscent of the red rock canyons of Sedona, Arizona.
The drive to Colorado Springs was through a high plain valley mostly consisting of rolling fields with an occasional outcropping of shaded rocks.
Today was a day for driving and contemplation. The images of the Geyser valley in Yellowstone got me thinking about what the earth might have been like during the roaming of the dinosaurs. Which got me thinking about how life has changed which got me to thinking about how life has remained the same which got me to thinking about why we're here which got me to thinking about shutting up, letting go and just being.
So, just like Mr. and Mrs. Bison and children I think I'll enjoy the rest of the evening and tomorrow just being with my son and family.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Entering Yellowstone from the East we come upon the familiar solitary sentinels, reminders of previous fires. In addition I noticed the plethora of downed trees. They look like straw scattered through a field. Most are very skinny and bare of leaves. I think these might be lodgepole pines. The Indians value them very highly as building timber. I can see why. They are easily toppled.
About 10 minutes into the park there is traffic moving at about 3 mph. Sound familiar? I had to laugh. Mr. and Mrs. Bison and babies I'm sure are on the road doing their thing.
Sure enough, after about a half hour delay we arrive to see them in the middle of the road watching us humans trying to maneuver around them. I wonder if they are laughing to themselves at our behavior.
Today we decided to view the Yellowstone Grand Canyon formed and sculpted by the Yellowstone. The depth and breath of the canyon is stunning with its array of shades of golds, yellows, reds, oranges, iron, sulphur, mixed together in a remarkable testimony to the colors of time.
The upper and lower falls of the canyon are mighty in force and swift in flow. We snaked down a serpentine trail to stand by the precipice of the lower falls. We could gaze down to where the water was dumping below. The power of nature is awesome. Knowing that the same force that created the falls is the same force with which I'm imbued provides a direct connection for me to source.
After traveling the north rim of the canyon we took the upper loop which took us up and down mountains and plains and past Mammoth Hot Springs which is a layer of hot, mineral springs.
As we exited the park, wouldn't you know it, traffic backed up again for Mr. and Mrs. Bison. This time the delay was only 30 minutes or so. I guess they took pity on us. I love Mr. and Mrs. Bison. They keep us all in our place.
After we said goodbye to the Bison family we went a mile or so and pulled off onto Riverside Rd. where Peggy walked into the stream for some quiet meditation.
Tomorrow we are off to Ft. Collins, Colorado to see the next generation.
My mind harkens back though to the Geyser country. Many parks have wildlife, bison, bear, elk, and many have spectacular rivers, creeks, streams, and many have mountainous features. But, for me, the uniqueness of Yellowstone is Geyser country which I have yet to see in the splendor and quantity that I have witnessed here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today we travelled from Victor, Idaho into Yellowstone by the west entrance.
The drive took us through high farmlands which Peggy described as Kansas on steroids.
Miles upon miles of potato fields. Go figure.
Yellowstone is timeless. We were immediately reminded of the fire which 21 years ago burned a third of the park. There are solitary sentinels with no leaves, no bark, smooth but charred surface, which are constant reminders of the dangers we humans can pose.
Within a few miles after entering the park we encountered some mule deer.
We spent most of the rest of the afternoon visiting all the geyser sites which are almost magical.
Steam rising hot with a concomitant sulphur smell set in a landscape reminiscent of the moon.
This is how the earth must have been when the dinosaurs roamed.
The crystal, clear, blue of the geyser waters I've seen only once before, deep inside the glaciers of Switzerland. Both waters direct from the source, untainted.
Old Faithful was true to her name, erupting within five minutes of her predestined time.
The force with which the water was hurtled upward was terrific.
It reminds me that we are sitting atop a super volcano whose insides occasionally remind us of the forces that churning underneath the earth.
On the way out we got stuck in traffic to the point where we were not able to go more than 3 mph.
We couldn't determine what was the cause and we were beginning to get a little flustered as it took us an hour and forth five minutes to go 6 miles. It was at that point that we came upon a tiny herd of bison including tow babies, wandering down the road. A ranger in a car ahead of them was making sure they would not get hurt. Nothing to be done, can't harm the animals and can't get out of the car to herd them. So, there they were, not a care in the world, going wherever, perhaps to no place in particular, with no timeline. They didn't care if there was a line of cars two hours behind, they didn't care if people liked them or not. They were just there to be.
Excuse me, nature calls.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day five of the Tress RV experience found us leaving Green Valley, Wyoming headed for the Grand Teton National Forest.
After climbing into the mountains the rest of the drive was just straight along the top of the high plains. Mostly fields of various tints of green and an occasional alpine meadow full of wondrous flowers with iridescent like colors. They looked like tie dye shirted peaceniks swaying to the music of the wind.
The Tetons are spectacular and remain dotted with glaciers that seem to be shrinking.
I couldn't help wonder why we bother to travel. What do we expect to find?
I think, perhaps, more proof of the splendor of spirit, the human spirit in connection with the spirit of the universe.
With every new mountain, every new field field, every new color, new flower, new animal we chance to encounter we are flaunted with eternal energy, infinite being, to which each of us brings a spirit unlike any other in the universe and without which the universe can't exist.
Many of us believe ourselves to be creatures of little merit.
Toward that end Peggy and I have resurrected our " Book Of Firsts". In it we record all the "firsts" we do each and every day.
Start one and see how quickly the pages fill. Perhaps you'll begin to see just how magnificent a creature you are.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day four of the Treiber-Hess or Tress RV experience.
A slight change of plans had us drive from Dinosaur National monument toward our next stop today instead of tomorrow.
If you like to go back in time this is the place. Fossils and petroglyphs dot the landscape.
But what struck me the most was the stark silence of the desert.
For most of our journey the only sound we could hear was our footsteps.
It was interrupted only by others speaking foreign and native tongues, with and without the next generation. Peggy and I would wait until they passed and the silence would return.
I think we forget how spiritual a simple silence is. We might even think we encounter it in the spaces of our city lives. But, as I discovered in the desert, that is merely muffled sound.
We left the desert of Vernal, Utah by US highway 191 which has to be the most spectacular drive I've ever taken.
We passed through the Flaming Gorge National Forest observing the constant road signs that indicate the era of time the land was created. What we drove through was all under water 150 million years ago.
Where did all the water go?
When we left the Flaming Gorge Dam which supplies water to a great deal of the southwest the road ascending about 3,000 feet.
The road rises and falls between roughly a 5,000 foot to 8500 foot elevation.
At unexpected turns the hills simply disappear into canyons of incredible beauty.
There are escarpments which line the horizon as far as the eye can view, canyons which dive below the surface beneath one's ability to see and valleys which have no other side.
All of which are mottled with a cacaphony of hues. The canyons with brilliant reds, golds, oranges, solitary and blended, the escarpments with shades of mocha, ochre, iron, mauve and mixtures of colors that there are no words for, the valley with tones of mint, sage, amarinthine,aqua and teal.
the entire drive I was soaked in colors.
It even rained, here in the desert where it gets less than 10" of rain a year, and a rainbow crowned the mountain. A glorious, spiritual experience. Peggy slept.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Point of Our Possessions

I was looking for a mug in which to brew my first cup of tea today, and a tan one, with a maroon H&H Bagels logo, was at the front. I pulled it down and smiled, remembering how it came to live in my cupboard five years ago.

A man who had been my boyfriend in high school sent it to me, along with a dozen New York bagels, after my mother died. We don't have real bagels here in Northwest Arkansas -- it's the water or the baker's attitude or both -- so they were a real treat and a comfort.
And now, as I filled the cup with our Fayetteville water (filtered, of course, because our family business is water filtration), I felt a warm rush remembering the kindness that he showed me, even though my mother had been a real thorn in his side when we were kids.

He's probably still asleep in New York where he lives, and I don't really know him anymore, except for the core person I met when we were seniors, trying to figure out our feelings and futures. The point of this story, though, is the point of our possessions.

Every few months, I go through various closets or cabinets, weeding out the stuff that almost accumulates on its own, but I won't be giving this mug to The Salvation Army, because every time I use it, I feel that warm rush of affection for the young man I dated, who befriended me again when my mom died. It connects me with him, on a virtual or spiritual or emotional or vibrational level ... you get to call it whatever you want, but it is an energy thing and energy, though invisible, is real. If you're a doubting Thomas, go stick your finger in a socket.

So, to the unclutter experts, I would say, "Don't just toss something you haven't used in a year IF it gives you joy to look at it, to hold it in your hands."

Leave it for your kids to toss!

I don't consider myself to be very materialistic. You come to my house and you will find old furniture, bought at The Salvation Army and recovered. And most of my clothes have been with me for years. The washer and dryer celebrate my husband's and my wedding anniversary with us each year.

But, I have my possessions. The little diamond pendant that my mom wore around her neck for years now graces mine. A tiny wooden bookcase that my Grampa built for my dad holds my canned beverages. The favorite books I read to my children remain in my bookcase to be read to their children. There's more, of course, but these illustrate my story.

Like The Velveteen Rabbit, some special possessions become transformed by time and memories and love. And those we want to hang onto because they have the magic to brighten the moments of our lives.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Family That Sleeps Together Keeps Together

T'was the week after Christmas (and Hanukkah) and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
T'was a mixed blessing: The quiet after all the activity was welcome, but I missed having family eating and laughing and sleeping under one roof.
I like it when family sleeps in the same house.
The family that sleeps together keeps together. That's always been my motto.
But now, Jeremy and I are empty-nesters ... for nearly two months' running. And we miss having little -- and big -- feet pattering about 24/7.
So it felt good to have our oldest son, who lives in Colorado, stay with us during Hanukkah.
And it felt good for me to sleep in the same bed with our youngest daughter when I went to visit her in Austin, because she couldn't make it home for the holidays.
When Jeremy joined me in Austin, we spent the next two nights' with our other Austin daughter and her husband.
We had five nights in a row sleeping with the family.
When I was a child, I couldn't imagine sleeping in a house alone. And as an adult, I pretty much avoided it by getting married three times.
There's a warm fuzzy feeling to hearing a family member gently snoring in the next room. Kind of like a white-noise machine. And it negates the need for a sleeping pill.
Family members -- regardless of religion, politics, or birth order -- are indelibly linked to us, and, I think, an extension of ourselves, even if it's not politically correct to admit.
They may drive us bonkers when they're awake, but ... when they're sleeping, oh, don't they look like angels!