November in Yellowstone

Each season, our stay in Yellowstone grows a bit. The first year (when Rafal was by himself), it was five months, then last year six, and this year six and a half. Next year, we will stay more than eight.

So this is officially the first time we’ve experienced November in the Park. Growing up in a city and spending my entire adult life living in the heart of college towns, I wouldn’t have pegged myself for someone who likes isolation. But these past couple of weeks, walking around in Grant Village and not passing another soul (save for a fox, a coyote, an elk), the thought that there are only a handful of people for a miles and miles in any direction has brought a bright grin to my face. I feel tickled, and special, and safe. (Yesterday, a stark white rabbit crossed my path and I thought about following him off into the woods, but I did not.) With everything that is going on in the world, for better or worse, isolation feels so good.

When I’m not out walking, I’m inside shaking like an autumn leaf. I suppose the cool outdoor weather calms my nerves, while the crackling fire in my apartment lights my fuse. (Incidentally, I have been getting really freaking good at starting and maintaining wood stove fires, and I’m proud of that.)

The World Series had me on edge (go Cubs!). The election this Tuesday has me really on edge (go Hillary! I already voted!). The situation at Standing Rock has me on my third edge (f*ck that horrible pipeline). And we leave for Chicago in SEVEN SHORT DAYS. So I am all out of edges: just a smooth, jittery circle. Or perhaps more of an oval, as I feel pulled in two directions (deep peace and tense anxiety) from one moment to the next.

So I’m taking some time to push myself to write, to find some grounding in my own words, to seek balance. Every day I let my other work, or my household work, or my work out on the mat take precedence during the brief moments of Lydia’s nap (or her daily dose of Daniel Tiger). I unintentionally skirt my self-expression. So today—even when I feel like I have nothing to say—I am making myself say something.

In these types of moments—when I feel off balance and devoid of deep thoughts–I find the best thing to say is “thank you.” So that’s what I aim to do.

I am thankful for the small community we have here and the fun Halloween we shared.

Harry Potter, a Fortune Teller, & a Care Bear walk into a bar . . .

I am thankful for my fitness group & my writing group who both help me to feel connected to the world (and to my goals).

I am thankful for my sweet toddler, who is learning and growing at lightning speed.

I am thankful for my partner, and for this journey we are sharing.


Finally, as ever, I am thankful for Yellowstone.


photo credit: Lisa Stoorza

See ya in nine days, sweet home Chicago. The Kos family is heading home.


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