Yellowstone National Park is at our back door. I can hear it with the number of RVs and rental cars pushing down the road. I can feel it as I hear conversations about buffalo and bear as I wait in line with a bag of charcoal at the grocery store. We don’t venture into the park in July or early August unless we’ve got a guest from Germany or someone who’s never meandered down to the park.
It’s too crowded for me. I crave the open wilderness with country roads that are not blocked or paved.
I asked a Chinese man about the crowds he’d seen in the park.
He looked aghast. “What crowds?!” he inquired.
“Isn’t the park packed?” I asked.
“Nooo …” He proceeded to tell me what it’s like hiking in China. The trails sound like they are as full as the grocery store checkout line the day before Thanksgiving. He said you cannot take a picture without other people in it. You can’t even stop to take a picture. It’s person after person after person in a line, one step at a time.
To him, Yellowstone is peaceful and empty right now.
To me, peaceful and empty are words like the photo above. We had a little blast of cold air that let us snuggle into sweaters for a day. Then it was right back up to temperatures in the 80s and lower 90s.
We all have our perfect place. One by one, I would show you ours. I would take you down the trails and show you the wildflowers we’re spotting (and sharing here). Not online. These are the things that have to be experienced in person. They’re what make me grateful to be exactly where I am.
It won’t be long before those little blasts of cold become something bigger that sticks around here and doesn’t really lift for a while. The RVs and rental cars will be gone. The grocery store will feel abandoned. (I certainly won’t be buying charcoal!) All any of us can do is slow down and enjoy summer right where we are.
Gosh, I love this season. I want it to never end. But it will. And then I will adjust my gratitude, thankful for the outdoor skating rink and the day we can finally get that little boy of ours into his first pair of downhill skis.
P.S. This blog post was originally a journal entry that I wrote in response to a writing prompt in this journal. I added a few more thoughts as I typed it out to share with you. Right now, this once a month blogging feels right as I make some major leaps over at Gadanke that have involved so much bravery, vulnerability, fear, possibility, and—I’m hoping—accomplishment. If you don’t want to miss these monthly musing here, sign up for the Making This Home monthly email here.