|Winter after the 2009 Arnica Fire|
This is my Walden. It is the place I come to be centered and to learn for myself what matters most to me. I come to learn to live with the rhythm of nature and to share that heartbeat with others. Thoreau might express this feeling differently saying, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." This is my time to face the essentials in life and boil it down to the few things that matter most. I moved here one month ago and find much to reflect upon. I find that living deliberately is about family, friends, and faith. I am an instructor and Yellowstone is my classroom. But I have learned much from watching my students. They come to this place to take a special trip and they come with the people that matter most: spouse, children, or a close friend. I see that it is not enough to experience it alone, the things that matter most must be shared with others. I just returned from two days with my family and find that greatest happiness is in human relationships. After all, "Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?" Faith, I find, is my constant companion. Faith in things I cannot see and hope in the unknown. One of Thoreau's earliest memories was lying awake at night "looking through the stars to see if I could see God behind them." I remember standing in the hayfield as a child wondering which star was heaven.
|West Thumb Geyser Basin|
I do not know how long this season for reflection and deliberation will last. But, like Thoreau, I am learning that, "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined he will meet with success unexpected in common hours." That's quite a brave belief for a man who earned a living at the family pencil factory. Perhaps he did learn something about the "essential facts of life" while he was at Walden.
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_David_Thoreau, http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/transcendentalism/authors/thoreau/, photos of Yellowstone National Park by Michael Justice