Monday, June 22, 2015

Yellowstone Day 2

While a game plan had been set the night before, daddy and I knew that our little bear needed a bit of a break. Yellowstone is huge. It takes a lot of car riding to experience it. There's just so much of that a 5 year old (even a truly awesome 5 year old like P) can take. We decided the morning would best be spent playing and fishing and not traveling. Another good decision. We all had a grand time. Daddy even caught a trout! Ok, a teeny tiny baby trout, but a trout none the less! P's alter ego Timmy Jones played in the river, baptizing his long "rock n roll" pigtails in the cool water. By lunch time we were properly filthy and soaked. Just the way a happy camper should be.

After the good morning we had a bite of lunch and made plans for the day. There were reservations at The Old Faithful Inn looming over our heads, so we knew we didn't want to venture too far. We opted for the Midway Geyser basin and the Grand Prismatic Spring. It was all very beautiful and fascinating and just too much for any sort of description to capture. Once again we were swept up in the sensory symphony of it all. The experience is full contact, head to toe, blanketing. Mother nature is a magnificent painter, but also quite the musician. Contrast and color dance on the syncopated rhythms of bubbling gurgles and melodies of rushing waters and bird songs. The smells range from intoxicating wild flowers to musky critters to sulfury fireworks of thermal activity to grilling burgers and campfires. Skin is kissed with geyser mist and warm sunshine and occasional rain. The whole being is swaddled in happenings.

Dinner at The Old Faithful Inn was filling. Not exactly haute cuisine, but it was representative of the area - very beefy. I had a pork osso buco, daddy had meatloaf and P bear had noodles. I also had a glass of red wine. Aaahhh... The staff at the Inn, and actually every where else, were astoundingly friendly and kind and seemed genuinely happy to be there. It was so refreshing! Not a surly one among them. Everyone was awesome.  I don't have any pics to share of our dinner or the staff. I felt that might be a bit rude, so just take my word for it. Or better yet, go see for yourself!!

The day and dinner had been grand, but the evening was magic.

Back at our campsite, the soft blue of twilight draped over the lodge pole pines and the amber glow of campfires freckled the terrain. Along with the sweet song of chirping birds there was a chorus of laughter and chit chat floating around. Ecosystem came out to play. He darted and dashed between the pine trees, feet flying and a smile as big as the sky. He pipped and chipped and giggled as his range of flight gained more territory. He discovered his boundary was big and took full advantage. He ran and ran and ran and ran.

Across the way, new neighbors had moved in. One of them looked like Santa Clause. They played mandolins and harmonicas and sang folk tunes from their homeland. Several of us enjoying the evening clapped our hands for their music. All the while Ecosystem ran and leaped from tree to tree. Another camper, who daddy and I had deemed Captain Natural because he was very crunchy with dreds and a minimalistic set up, came over to borrow some fire. We were taken off guard by his accent. We had assumed he was probably from Portland or someplace like that, but he was French. Delightfully French, traveling the states and exploring. Some giggles were exchanged along with a lighter. I came to learn that my childhood hero, Mirelle Mathieu, was "a nightmare for ze French people". He was charming and kind and liked Ecosystem.

Turns out the Santa Clause looking fellow also really liked Eco, and I got to really like the Santa Clause looking fellow. He was from Czechoslovakia. His family had fled his country during WWII, but didn't arrive in the states until 1950. They were refugees. He was in Yellowstone with some cousins he brought to the US to, "show them the wild west". It was the first time he had seen them since he was a boy. His accent was still thick and he proudly flew his flag on his campsite, even though he now is a retired art teacher living in Santa Fe. I told him I once lived there and he told me that he loved watching our little boy running all around the campground and "his joy is a sure sign of the presence of God. His joy brings me joy". Not sure my heart could get any fuller at that moment. Magic. Pure magic.

As the soft blue turned dark, we reined in our little running creature and snuggled by the campfire. He gazed into the orange and yellow flames, his little body relaxed and he said, "I like the sparks the best. They go in all directions and make different shapes." We watched them drift upwards and join the stars. "Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight" Three little wishes went sailing into the universe. I know at least one of them came true.

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