I would be remiss if I did not wish a happy birthday to my second favorite lady (my Honey will always be first!) of all time. On this date in 1872, Yellowstone became the world’s first national park and she looks damn good for 144!! Happy Birthday, Yellowstone!
For many people, Yellowstone conjures up images of endless bear jams, retirees in monstrous RV’s refusing to pull over to let others pass and tacky knick-knacks. Or perhaps you’ve seen, as we have, French-speaking tourists nonchalantly whizzing at the side of the road in the Lamar Valley (ok, here’s the deal, dudes: you don’t piss in the middle of Yellowstone and we promise not to take a dump in some dark corner of Chartres Cathedral. Ok?). All of that is a small part of Yellowstone, but it’s the barely visible patina of civilization over an ancient landscape.
For me, Yellowstone is a magpie flapping valiantly against the wind and seeming to go nowhere. When I see bison crossing the Yellowstone River in the Hayden Valley, those giant heads and humps creating eddies in the cool current, I feel Yellowstone. Or the insouciant amble of a grizzly bear right through an armada of cars and clicking cameras, steadfastly bound for parts unknown, as if it was 1816 and not 2016- that’s Yellowstone to me. More than anything, I think it’s the idea that around any corner the possibility exists that you will experience something that will fill you with awe. That’s Yellowstone.
Yellowstone National Park will be famous long after anyone who reads this posting is a collection of motes in the breeze. And yet for those of us who love her, I like to think that as we visit her, absorb her vistas and repeat her name with reverence and longing, we will somehow metamorphose into an infinitesimal part of her and thereby become immortal.
Happy Birthday, Yellowstone. And thank you!!