Last night we stayed in a rustic cabin at Colter Bay, Grand Teton National Park. No tv, no wifi, no radio, no cell service. Glorious. It has a metal roof, so when a shower comes through the valley, we enjoy the audio benefits without the downside of being cold, wet or miserable.
And we engage with one another. That’s mostly good. As in it’s good after people have had a meal, or a nap, or even shower. Before any of those activities, sometimes I wish some people had a distraction.
The first wildlife we encountered this morning was a trumpeter swan on a lake. Sorry, no pic. Again, we have insufficient lenses to accomplish some tasks sufficiently. This was as we were driving south looking for wildlife around 8 a.m. which was too late. I’m blaming a teenager for that, but to no avail.
Today’s experiences left me with two questions:
- Where do we, as mankind, get the idea that we are all that and a bag of chips? I’m such a teensy little speck standing in a river valley in this National Park, which is maybe a 32nd of the State of Wyoming, which is a small piece of the U.S. which is one of hundreds of countries on Earth, which is but a speck in the Milky Way . . . you get the picture.
But we are so proud of ourselves when we build a building or discover something that’s always been here. Even the biggest structures are miniscule, though, in perspective. Plus where do white men get off claiming that they “discovered” something like Old Faithful? I can’t help believing that native americans knew it was here before a pale face ever wrecked a boat on this continent, but we “discovered it” . . .
It is truly amazing that as “Wilderness Family Hogue” was hiking through some of this spectacular scenery today, some people were looking at their pocket screens as much as the awesomeness around them. (no names) We were walking on the flank of a 13,000 foot behemoth rock, rising sharply with granite spires out of the cold placid waters at its base, fed by the trickling patches of snow speckling the mountainside, but some kids wanted to look at Pokemon or some other silliness instead.
I guess I’m often just more impressed with nature than man. Nature can accomplish with one volcano or flood or a hurricane in minutes what man would take years to accomplish. I guess, on the other side of that coin, though, nature has been working underground on that volcano for quite some time. I’m still more impressed with the one than the other though. But there are obviously some – many – who would take a steel, glass, neon and concrete city over the wide openness under a starry sky without much of a thought. No comprendo. Give me several miles of empty space radius around me so I know what’s coming before it hits. I need time to debate myself before I have to settle on a thought and defend it to others. On a completely different point:
- Are Yogi and Boo Boo related? Because I don’t know.
As we were driving, with snow speckled mountains on the left horizon past miles of sagebrush valley, and The Grand Teton directly in front of us, we paused long enough to watch a herd of elk running across the openness of the valley. Yet again, the image defied the ability of our cameras to reproduce it, but it is etched in my mind. I’m certain that had we been closer we would have heard the thunder of hooves and the snorting and blowing of nostrils, but all we could hear from our position was the sound of a babbling brook harmonizing with the wind in the grasses and trees, plus a couple of song birds calling to each other. The elk were silent and graceful from our viewpoint. Sometimes you just have to be there.
We returned to our cabin to do laundry. Some things just have to be done.
The time is 5:02 p.m. We are resting in the cabin post laundry, waiting for dinner to be available down the hill. Rain is softly falling on the metal roof and it is lulling M into a pre-dinner nap. Here’s the point from above, reduced down to the prime: I have enjoyed living in London, and staying in Boston, Chicago, New Orleans and other cities, and have generally been ready to leave when it was time. But I’ve never had my fill of solitude in pristine environments. I would like to try it, but I have to make a living.
So we have two more days before we find ourselves in an airport again. May we make the most of them.