Notes from Yellowstone #18

Another swing shift today: 1:30-10. I hate swing shifts. I have always hated swing shifts. It’s not because they are boring. When I was working in an Air Force Surveillance and Warning Center, swing shifts could be when the most exciting stuff happened. The swing shift perforates the day, poking holes in time leaving the worker with little time for any other productivity. 

I find myself in a constant state of re-orientation. When I finish with work, it takes some time to quiet the mind and relax the body. Going to bed with either of them firing makes sleep impossible. I have to spend some time listening to music, doing some stretching to keep the leg cramps away, a shower, perhaps a beer and nuts or warm honeyed milk with graham crackers. Then, ideally, a good night’s sleep of +/- 7 hours. With no leg cramp dancing.

In the morning, we all have our rituals for orienting ourselves to the day. As I get older, I take more time with these ablutions, affirmation that I made it through another night. I won’t go into detail, but it takes a while, leaving about three hours for ensuring I have food and plans for lunch and dinner, walking the dogs a couple of times, straightening up the hovel, and writing a little. Then it’s time to get ready for work. 

I hate swing shifts.

The work itself is physical and something always needs to be done, so the shifts go by quickly. My body has adjusted (mostly) so doesn’t get as sore and crampy as it did in the first week or so. I also haven’t banged myself up in almost two weeks, either, so the bruises are fading.

Speaking of fading…so are the wildflowers in our alpine meadow. We’ve had several frosty mornings now, and while some of the yarrow and lupine are hanging in there, they are looking tired (as tired as the whores on 7th Ave) and ready for the season to be over. There’s an occasional dandelion or clover, and lots of browning grasses of various types. The rest of the flowers have been eaten by elk and chipmunk and other critters at that point when the plants were the most fecund. bearing the seeds of next year’s meadow in protein-rich seed.

Critters. Yesterday, when I was back at the Hovel for dinner break (and to feed/walk the dogs), I saw my first Bald Eagle of the summer. It flew, or rather glided, just above the spruce over Workcamp Yellowstone from end to end, flying right over my head as I walked the dogs. Maybe one day that kind of thing won’t take my breath away, but I don’t think so.


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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2 Responses to Notes from Yellowstone #18

  1. Oh wow. If you ever get to where seeing a bald eagle makes you shrug, I won’t believe it.

    Again, an effulgent perspective. I will miss these when you return to the “real” world, no lie.

  2. However, some populations of leucistic animals can survive quite well when afforded conservation protection, passing on their recessive trait to multiple generations, such as the famous white lions of Timbavati in South Africa. The rare sighting of this leucistic cow elk in Yellowstone demonstrates genetic mutation can and does occur world-wide, even in protected areas like a national park.

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