Wednesday, February 28, 2007

No profundity, just a change of scenery

View of the Firehole River from the Geyser Hill area of the Upper Geyser Basin, AND sun-up at Hitching Post turnout, Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park. The latter photo has sound-effects: adolescent male wolf (ceaselessly) bemoaning his position at the very bottom of the totem pole while the alpha female of his pack (the Druid Peak pack) is showing signs of estrus that even humans can detect at a distance.

Snippets from The Trip Report follow, once it is transcribed, annotated, illustrated, and posted.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

So much to post, so little time!

Just so I don't lose track:
1. Yellowstone trip, many details and thoughts to post! And photos!
2. An afternoon at the opera: Dialogues des Carmélites, Lyric Opera of Chicago;
3. The conservative media's (studied) habit of referring to the female and Black presidential candidates by their first names.
Stay tuned for more profundity!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Winter, winter, winter

I returned from six beautiful days in Yellowstone on Monday night, my travel sandwiched between a winter snow storm in Montana and a winter snow storm in Chicago. The Park can certainly use the snow and in fact should be colder than it has been as well so the normal variation of seasons will be maintained. However, the warmer temperatures - the lowest my rental car thermometer ever registered was +14 degrees Fahrenheit - made outdoor activity an easy pleasure. Wildlife sightings included many, many bison that are doing well in the mild winter, somewhat fewer elk than usual (apparently also because of the weather they have not come down into valleys like Lamar in large numbers), mule deer in Gardiner and points north, golden and bald eagles, one trumpeter swan, numbers of dippers (water ouzels), goldeneyes, many mallards and Canada geese, red squirrels, a gorgeous silver fox, coyotes as always, bighorn rams at the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek, and a wonderful long tailed weasel in winter white (aka ermine). The Druid Peak wolf pack was very active and visible on the days I was out looking. As I process my photos over the next few days I will post specific reports here.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Winter in Yellowstone, at last

Tomorrow I leave for Yellowstone National Park, otherwise known, and for very good reasons, as Winter Wonderland. This is a special trip for me because it has been four years since I was in Yellowstone in the winter; I had a trip planned for February of 2005 when my 92 year old mother fell and died shortly afterwards. Last year, instead of going to Yellowstone in the pit of winter, Kevin and I took Mother's ashes to scatter in Puerto Rico. That trip was equally heart-filling, but in such different ways.
This winter's trip is too short, I know that already, and my agenda is much too full. The reason I return and return again to Yellowstone is that I have long since recognized that it is the place for spiritual renewal, psychological restoration, deep thinking, attainable physical challenge, extreme beauty, and many other things that make the heart soar. Most of this is best achieved in solitude, but along the way I have made many friends I'm eager to see and spend time with at the expense of lonesomeness. This trip is also designed to open the door to the solution to this "problem. " I am meeting a realtor and perhaps visiting a property or two as a first step to moving there permanently when I retire. If I live in Bozeman and am not tied to a job, and not mired in the poverty of old age, I can dash off to the Park at will. It's hard to contemplate waiting for seven or eight years for this to become my new life.

Thursday, February 1, 2007


This is just a quick post to throw tonight's Jazzercise class up on the Blog. Too bad that a couple of my favorite buddies were not there tonight, but several regular pals and some newbies were, as was Michele Means, our instructor, and Da' Bear (who had a navy and orange watchcap at one point, it has disappeared from this shot.) Just a cheery bunch of chicks trying to wear themselves out at the end of the included for once, since I finally brought my tripod to class and put the camera on auto-timer so I could be in front of, rather than behind it, when the shutter clicked. Since I'm inevitably the photographer, this is a very rare shot indeed with me in it.

Oh, and among the missing tonight was our one male Jazzerciser, husband of the woman rear center with the white headscarf. He's a nice guy, and obviously a secure one since he doesn't seem to mind being the only man in a room full of strong (some literally) women.