It’s hard to know exactly what to write from the road. Just like it’s hard to know exactly how to be on the road. There is no one to buoy your moods, your talking, your whims and obsessions. You are out in the wilderness with the birds and the pronghorns, and yet you have everything at your fingertips. When I am upset by a thought. I have to live with that thought. There are 50 miles that will be made up mostly by untoward jealousy. And then 30 miles of hunger. And then a grab bag of happy/sad/anxious/havetopee/distracted/tired/inspired for a solid, schizophrenic 10. Let’s just say all the years of talking to myself have finally paid off.
Tonight I cooked myself some zucchini, mushroom, and onion tacos on my little pack stove in the strong Wyoming wind. And I must say they came out pretty well for being cooked on an aluminum pan with no handle that was made in Japan during the 50’s. As I was setting up my tent the birds were serenading me. Robins and some black and white bird I don’t recognize (update: black billed magpie) and of course streaks of canada geese overhead. I can hear the rush of the river as I type this (I’m about 200 ft from the Northern Shoshone). I think about my mom back home, dealing with the death of her Uncle who she loved like a father, on the day of my father’s birthday. I want to be there, and if I was there I would want to be here.
I constantly forget he is dead. I think every hour, how much he would love this. Or how it would help us to bond to finally camp together as adults. Something we never did. We traveled. We saw nature, but since I was 14 we never camped. I also know that he would be a pain to travel with. That I wouldn’t be able to freak out and pull over at every scenic view and run up hills and take pictures with my bright pink selfie stick. But who wants the world to themselves?
Big Bend really stoked my sense of a wilderness in your backyard. Of course West Texas is not the backyard of Austin (and I do not live in Austin). It felt beautiful and wild and weird and somehow familiar. Yellowstone is like nowhere I’ve ever been before. In that way it is like Acadia. Nothing about it reminded me of anywhere else, and nothing here is like anything I’ve seen before. The way the buffalo were grazing, in twos and threes and fives even laying by the side of the road in the position I had seen in statues in Cody, WY (you know how every town has that animal statue and they ask artists to paint them all different colors). And the snow peaks, the epic lake, the geysers, the pine bluffs, and the old growth forest, it’s all so damn beautiful it just makes me want to run around. Run run run run, to nothing at all. When was the last time I have felt exactly that?
I sit down to write but I do not do so to unravel the tangled headphone cords of the week, but to share. Only to say that to cook oneself dinner and to have a bit of whisky and to think of all the friends I have all over the country who I will soon see is the most magnificent and original experience I have yet had, and I hope to have more to share.
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