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06 Oct 2011
Still More Yellowstone

You have to understand, I just don’t know how to convey this to you. I want to, I’m trying to, I’m giving it all I’ve got. But we thought we were going to see dull geysers, still stumbling around cranky and exhausted from freezing-cold-camping-induced sleep deprivation the night before, and somehow we stumbled into seeing this sort of thing.

Bleary. Getting sunburnt around the edges of our layers. Mike in a hoodie, as you see. But astonished at what we’d found.

As Lisel Mueller wrote, “I tell you it has taken me all my life… to learn that the line I called the horizon does not exist and sky and water, so long apart, are the same state of being… What can I say to convince you the Houses of Parliament dissolve night after night to become the fluid dream of the Thames?”

And then, then, let us go to one of the deep green places of the world.

I kept wondering why so many trees were down, everywhere we looked. I later learned part of the complex answer - huge fires, blowdowns, pine beetles, the way forests change over time. But not the whole story.

The best is yet to come.

We walked a long, curved road through icy winds and hot steam towards the Grand Prismatic Spring. It felt like the hot springs in Costa Rica, where I spent a day alternating between searing my skin under a pounding hot waterfall and standing out under a light, stinging shower of cold rain. Like alternating between a hot sauna and a cold pool. The walk itself was a luscious physical sensation. Even now, the thought of it fills me with a deep sense of peace and joy.

And as we approached the spring, it certainly didn’t hurt that when the winds blew the thick mists away, we saw this:

It looked like a watercolor painting in real life, too.

One of the most incredible places I have ever seen. And yes, those colors were real, right in front of my eyes.

Mists and mists and ORANGE! and mists and mists and GLORIOUS WATERS.

Layer upon layer.

Can you see the blue in the mists over the center of the spring? When you look at it from above, you can see that color in that section of the waters. But even from the side, the color rose up.

And then we left. The rest of the world seems drab in comparison, sometimes.

(That’s when it’s time to get the paints out, or turn on the torch!)

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