Friday, May 30, 2008

Yellowstone, Day 3: Ice

Knowing that it won't do any good to prolong the inevitable, I step off from the rock. For a brief moment I hang in limbo, committed but not yet experiencing the consequences of my actions. Then the deep cold of water envelopes my body and my mind is cleared of such thoughts. For a few strokes I attempt to swim; then the cold's stranglehold on my lungs sets in and I stand up. The next few seconds are filled with awkward steps and hyperventilation. For these few moments I operate solely on instinct, my body allowing me no other choice when faced with such circumstances. As I lay drying on the bank, I smile and enjoy a rush of endorphins.

This is living.

Sitting on Fred's porch, dark clouds and an electric breeze were ominous signs for the night to come. Sure enough, raindrops began to fall and we arrived in camp with little option but to scurry to the protection of our synthetic shelters. As I lay there listening to the patter of rain, I realized that, although we can have occasional moments of wildness, we really are visitors to the wilderness. Bison require no protection from the rain, but we would quickly perish without shelter. With a new reverence for nature I thanked the geese for the down in my sleeping bag and drifted off to a calm, dreamless sleep.

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