Thursday, August 26, 2010


We drove for miles. We drove through the yellow stones and the acrid smell of sulfur. We drove through blackened, burned wood and steaming pools. We sat in traffic in the middle of the forest.  We drove into the Tetons, to the southern gate, turned around and drove back through them again. We drove by fields and signs pointing to fields.  We drove by pristine pools. We drove until our asses were aching and our feet were sweating in their separate compartments.

We slept by a lake that night. The crystal and cerulean water murmured in the dark; the high peaks hushed.  Someone walked into our campsite in the blackness; the man was not well. He spoke of a lost son to no one and directed his rogue torch into our tent. We sat fearful and rigid, illuminated.  He approached; we held our breath shallow in our fluttering chests. He stood within our reach as we prayed, despite our doubts, that we were out of his. I contemplated the repercussions of screaming.  I considered running and shaking those sleeping so close to me out of their reveries and into the murderous reality of the night.  That night there was no moon and my path would have been a blind one.  But the horrific scene forming before me was dispelled by the sound of retreating footsteps; the crisp notes of a zipper; the whisper of nylon on nylon... the heavy breath of slumber.  Perhaps it had been a specter, stepping briefly between the living on its solitary and secret path.

Or perhaps, he said lying back down, it was a human, tangible like you or I, in the midst of a lively dream.

We did not stay to find out.

In the dewy morning hours we biked along the toes of the mountains.  We biked beside sagebrush and deer, their sable, silent eyes following us.  We biked over a wooden bridge, the ridges humming beneath our tires.  The creek below was rocky; the rocks were rounded and the streams flowed seamlessly through them.  We biked until we found a ranch, tucked between towering pinnacles, then we turned around and biked back through it all again.  We biked until our asses were sore and our armpits were sweaty in the growing heat of the day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Big Sky

Jobeena's windshield is cracked. It is a travesty. Our beautiful, strong, seemingly invincible vehicle of liberation is hurt.  The transformation from injured to lame can be swift, an imperceptible shift, and this knowledge worries me.  So, after slight, hurried deliberation, duct tape is applied (the man-made, accessible miracle), the wound bandaged, and we go forth.

But all is not well... into big sky country, land of meth addicts and early-morning saloon goers and cowboys and miles or nothing.  Headed north towards the glaciers we see signs of ire.  Some cosmic collision threatens to envelope us.  The gods are crazy; enraged, perhaps at the idleness of humans.  Between bible readings and chamber music, the radio speaks of fifty mile-per-hour winds, golf ball-sized hail, tornados; it offers advice: get off the roads, into, or, at the very least beside, a large, secure structure.  The level-headed male to my right turns the dial and the voice goes silent.  He looks at me and his eyes, in turn, silence me, my forming hysteria.  I have a proclivity towards irrationality.

As we drive into Glacier National Park it is hailing, only marbles.  They tap on our roof and clink on the glass, noises reminiscent of tumblers that, with their seductively smooth, cool liquors, produce a bodily state antithetical to the current tenor of our wandering coterie - my mind wanders.  The campgrounds, much to my chagrin, are full; we are not the only people who travel long distances to stay in breathtakingly pristine spaces in July.  Another powwow ensues and we retreat back along the mountain passes, angry and depressed, reverted to a pubescent demeanor through our own oversight, being denied something we wanted but did not make the necessary effort to attain.  Again my mind wanders: at twenty-three, I am still a child.

The car is silent once more.  The sky is clearing and the foliage twinkles, water clinging to the heavy leaves winks at us.  It is all a joke.

That night we camp, cramped between humming, fuming RVs, in a KOA.