Monday, June 22, 2009

Call of the Wild

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.


Linda Lee said...

Hey PenMar AT/Montana Girl,

Glad to read you are happy!

Will take your prayer request to God immediately.

Luv ya,
Linda Lee
Your PenMar Friend!

Keep the Faith!

Sarah said...

Would Mo want you being a "sad man"? Someone recently told me that God puts you where He does to grow you and to grow others through you. Soak up the growth and know that you are engraved on His hands...He can't take his eyes off you. :) Your sunny sister in CA loves you.