I’m sitting here at Lake Hotel, with the vast lobby near empty. The end of August is upon us and the visitors have thinned out; the wave of record-setting visitation is breaking and sliding back.
August was a marathon of guests for us personally as well. Just two days ago I sat here with my paternal grandmother, Shelby; her partner, Allen; my uncle, Phillip; Lydia; and Rafal. We drank coffee and ate scones late in the afternoon after a long day of sightseeing. Just outside the large window before us, a small herd of bison grazed.
A week before this my mother was here; a week before that, my best friend. Each visit carried adventure, laughter, and lessons about myself in its pack. Kim and I climbed mountains with Lydia, took a boat tour, and stayed up late watching funny videos. Mom and I played at home with the baby, walked geyser basins, and rode a covered wagon to a backcountry cookout. Grandma, Allen, and Uncle Phillip got the animal show, spotting an elusive grey wolf, a grizzly, an elk buck, and many bison. In the mix was the 100-year birthday of the National Park Service, and Rafal, Lydia, and I made the pilgrimage up to Gardiner to see the show.
After such an August, I am simultaneously depleted and extra full.
Though the equinox is weeks away, the start of school means Fall. This is the time of year when we let things fall away. We let our bad habits die. We let go of things that don’t serve us.
I am grateful that so many people made the journey to see us: by way of highway and air. I’m glad they got to see our home, and to report back what they’ve found. I’m excited for people back home to have an image of where we live, what our apartment is like, and the great majestic scenery that surrounds us. I could see a glimmer of recognition in each visitor that told me, “I can see why you like it here.”
We do like it here. When the seasons change and we’re stretched a bit thin, the life we’ve chosen can feel exhausting. But my goodness, do we like it here anyhow.
At the NPS centennial, we saw many people speak. They declared their love and support for National Parks, and they boasted pride for Wyoming and Montana. With the breathtaking mountains framing the stage, the glorious sunset lighting the big sky, and my sweet toddler bounding after bigger kids through the tall grass, I felt connected and I knew what they meant. I was proud to be a part of Yellowstone. I was proud to be a resident of the wild, rocky west.
I can feel change in the burgeoning September wind, and I am ready to clear out the old. I welcome the space of autumn. I am ready to grow.