Posted by: greentangle | February 4, 2015

Today at the Lake (Briefly)

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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.

Posted by: greentangle | November 4, 2014

Gardiner Grizzly

Some towns have all the luck. A baby-faced grizzly getting scared by trick or treaters. And you wonder why I miss Yellowstone.

Posted by: greentangle | October 23, 2014


I took a little vacation to visit an old friend and town I hadn’t seen in ten years or more.

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 I ate a lot of delicious home-cooked food, more than I make for myself in a month, much better than anything I cook.

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 I was very impressed by the coop, one of the best I’ve seen, much bigger than Duluth’s even though the town is 1/4 the size. And they sold good beer at a reasonable price.

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I met Capo, Constant Canine Companion. I liked how when we were hiking, he kept looking back to make sure the two-leggeds hadn’t fallen down and hurt themselves.

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 So I found myself a new place to live.

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Posted by: greentangle | October 19, 2014

Bowden, Books, and Baffled

The latest issue of High Country News features an article about Charles Bowden written by Scott Carrier shortly before Bowden died. He’s described as “pretty much penniless. His possessions consist of a sleeping bag, a cot, a stove for coffee, a Honda Fit and a pair of Swarovski binoculars–high quality glass. This is the way he wants it, having nothing to lose.” I admire that, but suspect it’s based more on where the two spent a few days together rather than Bowden’s actual home.

Due to my own feelings about his writing (my favorite Bowden books being Some of the Dead are Still Breathing and Frog Mountain Blues rather than his many crime and drug books), I was happy to read what Bowden said about it:

“I got trapped on a path,” he says.
Bats are dive-bombing bugs above our heads.
“I wanted to write about nature, about animals, what it’s like to be an animal, but I went into murder reporting and now I’m recovering.”

Ed Abbey makes an appearance in the article in both word and a photo with Bowden and Dave Foreman (misidentified as Doug Peacock in the print magazine, but corrected online). And there’s an essay by Bowden, On the edge with Edward Abbey, Charles Ives and the outlaws, taken from a book edited by John Murray and due out next year, Abbey in America: A Philosopher’s Legacy in a New Century. The essay is available online but the article is only available to subscribers.

The previous issue of HCN was the annual books issue, and I added quite a few to my to be read list:

29 by Mary Sojourner
Altitude Adjustment: A Quest for Love, Home, and Meaning in the Tetons by Mary Beth Baptiste
Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence by Marc Bekoff
Ice, Fire, and Nutcrackers: A Rocky Mountain Ecology by George Constantz
Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit by Alison Deming
A Hunger for High Country: One Woman’s Journey to the Wild in Yellowstone Country by Susan Marsh
The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless
Children and Other Wild Animals by Brian Doyle
The Carry Home by Gary Ferguson

Earlier this month I missed a call which showed up as restricted, the first one of those I’ve gotten in the year I’ve had this number. I know there are a zillion possible explanations, but I also know that is how calls from my former YNP employer show up. Due to a couple unlikely matters of timing, I wondered if it might be the person known to readers of the other blog as Lola. I also wondered if someone had decided not to take a winter job and the company was going through the list looking for a replacement. I knew it was too soon to be getting a call about next summer even though I had already filled out the application. In any case, there hasn’t been another call, so it gets added to the long list of things I’ll never know.

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