Notes from Yellowstone #4

Monday, about 0830, and I have to be at work in a couple of hours. It’s only a four-hour shift for me today. It will be lovely to see the sun set! Over the west side of the lake. With a beer!

This morning has been one of the prettiest since I’ve been here. It’s already been a week! I took the dogs for a long hard walk after their breakfast, and before mine. We did our cool down out on the helipad, overlooking Yellowstone Lake. Blue, blue, blue sky with wisps and puffs of clouds. No dew (for the third day). Lake as calm as a baby’s breath. And the alpine meadow showing off her summer glory of wildflowers and tasseled grasses. Some of the tassels are deep red, almost a bordeaux. 

I have no need for a garden outside my door. I have already been given one with Queen Anne’s Lace and some others whose names I will have to get to know. For now, they are purple and pink and yellow and orange and big puff ball that isn’t a dandelion, but looks like one on steroids.

Critter note: The chipmunks, and other small critters that come around the Hovel, are apparently driving the dogs out of what little minds they possess. Gidget has gone full-blown terrier on me. I have to really power walk them for a bit (with lots of redirection on a very short leash) before we can slow down and let the leash out – all 6 feet of it – and enjoy a walk. It’s taking them a little time to adapt to the new schedule(s) and the changes in their environment. Imagine that.

Work wasn’t as brutal yesterday, but still pretty challenging. I only had to do the showers once, during the afternoon cleaning. I got to clean up the laundry room last night while the others did the showers. It was made less difficult by all the efforts of the other team members, throughout the day. These folks are mostly pretty grown up, and with all of us looking out for each other and working together, everyone’s job is easier at the end of the day. It would be nice if government worked that way.

I’m meeting my team mates, one by one. We are, most of us, past 50. A few of us past 60. A couple of us, by a pretty good bit. Kids are grown, gone, with families of their own, and they are here, living the dream. Banking a little to pay to haul themselves to the next dream location.

Late day note: I didn’t exactly see the sun set. I lay down for a nap and woke up at dusk. The sound of the breeze through the pines, like waves on a beach, knocked me right out. It was a wonderful nap!

The dogs and I had a couple of nice walks today. They were sniffing out chipmunks and I was sniffing the air. The air up here smells like honey. No air pollution and the essence of wildflower and sweet grasses and pine fills the air. It is a fabulous aroma. Mountain Meadow. So much more nuanced than a dryer sheet or candle. And no chemical aftertaste.

Tonight, the crescent moon joined the bears above the trees.


Re work: Today starts the hell shift. I work from 2-11 pm today and 6:45-3 pm tomorrow. If I can fall asleep on the washers in the laundry room, and forget about going home to bed, feeding and walking the dogs, or eating breakfast, I can get 7 hours and 45 minutes of sleep. This is a test. I’ll know by Thursday morning (the first of two days off) if I can possibly last the summer.

Re pictures: I took some more today. Mostly of the wildflowers and grasses. They are so beautiful in the early morning light. I have to get a wildflower guide so I can learn their names. It goes on the shopping list.  And again — the air smells as sweet as honey. Intoxicating.

Re critters: Mine are not the only dogs in camp. (Note to son: Also not the worst behaved) We are working on some training while we are here, and they are coming along pretty well. If I can get them out for at least one good walk during a time of day when the chipmunks are active, so they can “hunt” the fence-line (the length of their leash), they are happy campers. 

Two weeks

without TV

without the morning news shows

the morning noise shows

breaking noise

6 o’clock noise

10 o’oclock noise

without the news noise

nothing to be angry about

nothing to be scared of

Except bears

of course

Bears can kill you. sgf///7/21/15

About Sharon

Like anyone who lives long enough, I have experienced great loss and survived. I am convinced that my survival depends on my own participation in creating the reality I am living in, and I am determined to be a thoughtful and active participant/creator. These writings are my way of documenting that creation. As the song goes, "I will survive!" I chose the title Staying Vertical because I find that surviving isn't just staying on my feet physically. Keeping my thoughts and emotions on the vertical plane keeps me alive and moving forward. Thanks for joining me!
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4 Responses to Notes from Yellowstone #4

  1. Ah, to be above the fray. I can almost smell the cool air and honey drifting on the breeze. I love the Smokies because they are part of my blood but there is something wildly passionate about the Rockies. You fill my imagination with your notes! Can’t wait until the next one. Thank you for sharing.

  2. vali says:


  3. Pete Siegel says:

    Great post. I just realized that I haven’t done any Peepaw’s Ponderings recently on Blogger. Just spent an enjoyable week at the BSA’s Philmont Training Center, Cimarron, NM, that will make a good ponder. Would love to go back and be on volunteer staff. The chipmunks and ground squirrels are known as “mini-bears” out there.

  4. Joe Turney says:

    The same smell it had in 1968 — my one and only trip to Yellowstone. Great stuff, Sharon!

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