Playfulness and Wildness — January 19 & 20
Being in Lamar Valley helps us to connect to the largeness of the western landscape and the wildness of Yellowstone. We’ve spent two days now in the northeast corner of the Park. We’ve seen the rising and setting sun highlighting jagged peaks, we’ve felt the cold seep from the ground and the air into our toes and fingers, we’ve smelled the crisp scent of spruce and fir, we’ve tasted the fresh flavor of clean white snow. But perhaps most importantly, we’ve heard the mournful howling of wolves echo across the Yellowstone River. That sound, more than any other sensation we’ve experienced, speaks to this place.
We’ve also abandoned our everyday selves and connected to childhood through the simple pleasure of forging new trails in the snowy landscape. As we looked back up to a snowy hilltop we had climbed, we saw tracks that told a story of joy: the impression of each of our bodies reclining in the snow, multiple winding trails meandering down the hillside, a few deep holes where we fell and laughed and arose to continue, and even a wide swath of disturbed snow where Joy lived up to her name and rolled down the hill!
I’ll conclude with these quotes to speak to our grand ideas of wilderness and our simple pleasures in life.
“May I never not be frisky,
May I never not be risqué.
May my ashes, when you have them, friend,
and give them to the ocean,
leap in the froth of the waves,
still loving movement,
still ready, beyond all else,
to dance for the world.”
—Prayer by Mary Oliver
“In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world – the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harshness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware.”