Posted by: greentangle | April 19, 2015

Catching Up

One day last week I took the bus up to a nature center and poked around there a bit, then hiked home on a trail. It was no Yellowstone but I still check occasionally for bear and bison. Everything was still brown, and if I don’t count a couple unleashed dogs, the biggest wildlife I saw was a grey squirrel, and that was after I’d put my camera away. Still, it felt good to get out in the woods, despite my aging and swelling feet and legs.

I accepted a summer job in Yellowstone, reconsidered every day for a few months, and eventually turned it down. Among a variety of considerations, the main factors were how extremely inconvenient getting there by bus has become now that a Minnesota company operates the route instead of a Montana company, and concern about how I’d be treated in the job. I went into more detail on the other blog.

I’m not quite ready to say I’ll never work there again–I’m even considering it as a possibility for the winter along with a job at a resort near the park–but I’m starting to be at peace with that if it doesn’t happen. I sometimes wish I’d gotten to Yellowstone thirty-five years ago when I was first offered a job there–I wonder how that life would have turned out.

For now, I’m a couple weeks away from a couple weeks away, dogsitting and seeing how it feels to be a Yooper. I’m looking forward to that and when I return I’ll be looking for a second part time job, preferably something seasonal/temporary.

I have  a couple chapters left to read in All the Wild that Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West, and will be writing about that soon.


Posted by: greentangle | April 17, 2015

Bat Appreciation Day


Photo from Yellowstone Facebook page.

Posted by: greentangle | March 2, 2015

Winter in Yellowstone

Someone at work brought this great nine minute piece from yesterday’s Sunday Morning show to my attention. Enjoy!

Posted by: greentangle | February 4, 2015

Today at the Lake (Briefly)

Feblake 001

Feblake 017

Posted by: greentangle | January 29, 2015

Keystone Kop

According to the logic of new Montana Senator Steve Daines who took office earlier this month and is wasting no time proving his worth, the latest oil spill in the Yellowstone River proves that we need to build more pipelines. “What this oil spill has done, is it makes clear that we need to be building the most technologically advanced and state-of-the-art infrastructure, pipelines like the Keystone.” Because, you see, we have achieved perfection and nothing will ever go wrong with anything we do now.

Silly Kop! What this obviously proves is that we need to dam all the rivers and turn them into reservoirs so this will never be allowed to happen again.

Posted by: greentangle | January 3, 2015

Pull One Strand

2015–we made it through another one.

I took a long walk today because based on the weather forecast it doesn’t look like I’ll want to take another one for awhile. Walking has been easier lately because the ground is mostly clear due to a lack of snow, and it’s odd how much this former snow lover is enjoying that. Icy sidewalks seem much more dangerous to me than they used to be.

There were hundreds of mallards gathered at the corner of the Lake. I watched a 1000 foot laker leaving the canal with large chunks of ice following in its wake. Ice has been forming on the Lake and with forecast highs for the next four days of -5, 6, 4, and -2 that ice will probably start solidifying and thickening, although for the next couple days the wind will be blowing it all in one direction.

Wolves are back on the endangered list, with monarchs perhaps to follow. Who saw that one coming when we were kids? It would seem hard to pick a species whose extinction would be more amazing to people of a certain age. Our generation’s passenger pigeon, perhaps. Who’s next–cockroaches?

It’s going to be an interesting month. I have a Yellowstone interview scheduled and a few days later a doctor’s appointment and the two will interact in some way I can’t predict.

Nothing is ever certain, especially when this company is involved (such as a good friend there not getting the job he’d already been told he would get for the upcoming summer), but I’m fairly sure I’ll be offered a new YNP job. Then the questions begin. What job, where will it be, when will it begin–before or after the May dog-sitting I really want to do, how long will it last? Will I like it enough that I’ll be interested in trying to work almost year round there again so I can get insurance, or will it be one season and done just to get the taste of my last year there out of my mouth?

The medical stuff is nothing earth-shattering, just what every man faces eventually, but there will almost certainly be a permanent prescription or two in my future although I have concerns about the possible side effects of one. Since I’m fairly certain I’ll lose my insurance if I go to Yellowstone, do I take pills for a few months then stop when I go there, or pay for them out of my pocket while I’m there, or wait to start taking them until I get back in the fall, or not go to Yellowstone because of them? The last seems most unlikely since it would mean I’d have to find more substantial employment here and working year round for a week or two off is not something I ever want to do again.

Posted by: greentangle | December 2, 2014

Getting Lost, then Coming Home

Due to my time living in Yellowstone, I’ve enjoyed several of Gary Ferguson’s books—Walking Down the Wild: A Journey through the Yellowstone Rockies, Hawk’s Rest: A Season in the Remote Heart of Yellowstone, Decade of the Wolf: Return of the Wild to Yellowstone (you see the common denominator here)—but his latest, The Carry Home: Lessons from the American Wilderness, is special. I read a library copy (twice) which prevented me from making lots of notes in the margins but I’ll probably buy a paperback copy someday.

After twenty-five years spent exploring nature together, Ferguson’s wife was killed (and his leg broken) in a canoeing accident on the Kopka River in Ontario. That story, from accident to memorial service, is told in a series of short chapters interspersed throughout the book. Other chapters relate their life together, his trips to five locations where she had asked that her ashes be spread (including Yellowstone where she had worked), and how people who knew them reacted. I found it impossible to read this book without watery eyes inspired by loss, grief, relationship, friendship, connection, community, missing and loving Yellowstone.

The book also looks at the time period of their lives (and mine since we’re the same age), and topics Ferguson has written about before—anti-wolf/nature attitudes, the Yellowstone ecosystem and climate change, and troubled teens being helped by time in wilderness.

From talking with those teens ten years later, and also from earlier research for a book of nature mythology, come three qualities “essential to living well in the world”. They are 1) a relationship with and openness to beauty in the world, 2) a sense of community with the world beyond humans, and 3) an appreciation for mystery and the unanswerable.

This is a touching and important book which I encourage you to read.

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