Sulking with the mean reds I traipsed out of field camp tonight. Gi Gi's folks are visiting from New Jersey. She and Paul made them a beautiful, delicious meal of red meat, grilled veggies, and tates. They invited Drew and I to join them, long taper candles lit and stuck in a sand bucket, with jazz playing in the background. Drew radiated excitement from his weekend trip to Many Glacier and the east side of the park, where he saw 5 black bear, 3 grizzlies, a fox, a coyote, I forget what else... probably a moose.
Excited, and amused at how much his being just - oozed - enthusiasm I watched and listened to him with glistening eyes... for awhile. And then the fatigue from my past two days of work (including about 6 hours of driving a 15 passenger van down washboard pot-holed dirt roads at about 20 mph) caught up with me. Listening to Drew, eating dinner with Paul and Gigi and their family I got to thinking my loon sightings, lion, wolf and bear scat findings and hundreds of wildflowers I saw- weren't enough. Not wanting to be a downer- I excused myself.
It is 11pm on the summer solstice, today, the longest day of the year, it has just turned totally dark. After excusing myself I snatched my trusty backpack, now suited for GNP instead of the AT with rain jacket, wildreness first aid kit, bear spray, binoculars, and map, and walked out of camp. I realized this evening I really miss walking - just being alone- on foot- in the middle of the woods with my thoughts, and everything else feral. So I walked down Drew and my fishing path, to the river, and wandered cobblestone and sandy islands and river banks, before setting up by a stump to watch the water, birds, clouds, mosquitoes.
No matter where you are, or what's going on in your life you are never immune to quiet inner loneliness- and here- in this remarkable place, in the midst of my very happy life- the past few days a quiet dreamy restless sadness has crept in.
Am I childish enough to sulk about not seeing wolves? An elusive controversial animal a man that worked in Glacier 36 years saw- less than five times. Do I miss Low and Bones and wish I could be with their Colorado trail expedition? Did I look at too many of my former roommate's wedding pictures? Or is all this talk of dogs just making me think far too much about my favorite dog- down in a kennel 5 hours away from me? I think it's that ridiculous book I'm reading about India...
Clouds grew dark and rippled with deep blue and grey, a little refreshed, or at least more grounded after reconnecting with Susanna I worked my way back upstream, in the margin of damp bank. Just before my creek crossing to mainland I caught a toad. Which is pretty special around here- seeing as how there are only 3 varieties of amphibians in GNP. Appalachian night echoed as a distant memory. Dewy dark walks down gravel roads in the USGS Pilot quadrangle. Bobcats, bullfrogs. Walking by faith, not sight.
Can I do that in Griz country? What is at risk here?
Uncertain, and too tired to work through that thought process- I kept my headlamp off - until I saw Drew's blinking red light emerge from his cabin. I flashed my light, walked up to his brilliant sweater and hat, chatted across his bike.
He cruised for a drink at Fida's. I came to talk to you.
And now, my dear. It's time for bed.