Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday and choices

When many miles fall between rising and resting sometimes it’s hard to string all the events that happen into a single day. Such was today. There was a gentle, steady rain last night, that eased and soothed and gave such deep, good sleep. Dealing with a wet, muddy tent was another matter, however. Ultimately, I wrapped it up in our only sheet, stuck it into the backseat, and drove in Jackson Hole. Which should be called Jackson Hell, in my humble opinion. Laundry was fine, especially since free wifi onsite made the hour spin and tumble by quickly. And then the saga of trying to find food began. My GPS failed me, giving me a bunk or defunct restaurant. And yaddy yaddah, so it continued, driving through hugely trafficked, tourist laden streets in this quasi-quaint and rustic town that screamed big bucks. Ten dollars for a grilled cheese, no fries. Four dollars for a pastry. Uh huh, and yeah, everyone there was as WHITE as they come…

Today was the first day I really got on a deep level what Jon says frequently: how it hurts so deep to see what we truly are as a species. Jackson Hell exemplified all of it, and I just wanted to get the Hell out. But couldn’t: too much traffic. First I felt anxious, then sick, and then it just hurt. Today was not a day for feeling comfortable in my skin, and the many miles of road gave ample time for discomfort. Not only the feeling of disconnect with Terra Firma, but also the realizations about attachments to love.

Driving up to the fee entrance to the Grand Tetons National Park and Yellowstone, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t pay my $25 to go and get my American on. Couldn’t go with the herd and ooh and ahh over the mud pots, when I was fuming about being in the same tourist category as my fellow travelers. Pulling the car over just before the toll booth (there were many: it was like the Golden Gate Bridge) I pulled out the atlas, and without hardly any thought, tracked another route out of Wyoming. No Yellowstone, but the ease of heart was immediate, and I’ve never regretted one of these hastily made decisions that go against conventional thinking. Plus, I’ve decided that western Wyoming is a total sell-out state, and what it sells is fake America. Any authentic ambience and personality has been coopted and is now just a manipulation.

And so it was through miles of Wind River Indian Reservation that we drove, stopping frequently: snow, to pray to a roadside Madonna (please Mother, teach me to love freely,) a thrift store for books for Moona, gas, ice-cream, and finally hot springs in Thermopolis, which was less than wonderful, but I did get to sigh to country heartbreak songs played over the sound system. And now, we are squeakily clean now, shampooed and everything.

Favorite visual not natural was a huge bull someone had anchored to the top of a building in the middle of the desert, and someone else had defaced with an anarchy sign. Favorite natural visual was two bald eagles in a tree. Driving the canyons was fun, listening to Jerry Garcia and David Grisman “Not for Kids Only.” The landscapes appear so alien sometimes. Lastly, we drove through Ten Spent, Wyoming, where the road we were on, US Highway 16, was closed for “Rodeo Days” and the entire town of 354 souls were in the street singing and dancing to country music. And we’ve driven out of there, and up into the National Forest on this crazy road with drops on either side, and are sleeping in the car by the side of the road. Hopefully we’ll make it.