Happy Birthday Yellowstone
I hear so many talking about their vacations and excursions to the Caribbean and Europe. These parts of the world are exciting with their own special places; however, one needs not leave American soil to see some of the most breathtaking places in the world. A person could spend months traveling from one national park to the next; and I have a few in my camera already.
Yellowstone has been crowned our king of national parks, with each Season having a special virtue. Winter is my absolute favorite time to be there-the serene beauty and solitude is truly inspirational at the very least; I felt what John Muir felt.
To be alone in the wild, with no sign of a modern world as far as you can see…is something each one of us needs to experience. The winter silence is mesmerizing and you feel your connection and also…. your place amongst its power. Life is put into perspective at Yellowstone; you quickly see that it is all, not about you, but yet we are just a miniscule part of Natures wheel. You are humbled next to 1000 year old trees; your reverence rises the higher Old Faithful does, and snow encrusted buffalo gain your heartfelt respect at their strength and survival. Who are we such little ants in this place, with no strength, power, or survival skills unless with a car and cellular phone. A scenario where money is unknown, inconsequential, and of no use.
The skill and artistry of Nature so outweigh ours that it is not even a contest; which is why I expect man continues its quest to conquer it-but I do believe he never will. We can clear cut mountaintops, dam rivers, and fly into hurricanes; but one visit to Yellowstone will show you just how small a part we are in this ecosystem and who really is in charge. Yet, we seem to do the most damage. The parks have had enemies of banks, railroads, mining companies, and timber barons. Today we add more enemies of fuel companies, technology, and land grabbers to the mix.
Our entire country was like Yellowstone before it was settled and the Natives living there respected the land, they still do-never using more than needed and never for profit. To them one cannot own land; but instead are stewards to care and protect it. Our responsibility. A rare time in history when both Native Peoples and a government agency somewhat agree.
I have sat in the snowy solitude next to a steaming river, not 20 feet from an elk herd of nearly 30 members; watching each other and wondering-but oddly not afraid. I have respectfully stood behind a tree as a herd of buffalo passed just in front of me. Winter nights are filled with the howls of wolves singing you to sleep. You don’t fear, you gain respect.
When is the last time you experienced anything like this on vacation or… anytime? It was one of the most awe inspiring events of my life, and I wish everyone would experience it. Then you would see our kindred inhabitants, and the wild and free, majestic surroundings. It changes you; and you leave with a peace and enlightenment which John Muir called a religious experience-his religion. Which it was; and it is mine.
Happy Birthday Yellowstone; I thank you for being there and showing us what is really important. My birthday gift to you is a forever pledge to keep you safe.
Learn and see all our parks at the National Park Foundation and download your free National Parks Guide-because these parks do indeed belong to us. Then put your own star and comments at your favorite park which just happens to enter you in the This is Your Land Sweepstakes for a wild and free vacation.