Warning: May not be appropriate for the sexually squeamish, my children (or spouse) or those who like to gossip.
Ok, I’ll say it: I’m seeing a lot of very sexy fly fishermen. Yea, Brad Pitt made it look good in A River Runs Through It, and I’ve always wanted to learn… but frankly, I had kind of pictured heavy set men, in weird green waders, standing along the banks. Not so here in Yellowstone. While others are pulling over to watch elk and bears, I find myself wanting to just pull over and watch a few of these fine looking men throw that line thingy out in to the water over and over. Stepping back, there is pure poetry and beauty in the way these guys fish. It’s a beautiful thing, and I could probably watch an ugly guy do it for a while and still be happy. However, some of them are just down right gorgeous hunks of manly outdoorsy sexiness, in rubber overalls and vests. And that sets me back a bit… it’s just in my nature to make fun of these guys. The waders, the vest they all seem to wear, the funny hats (for those not wearing baseball type hats)… I am just so tempted to put on my best drawl and make fun.
BUT… the men here in Montana just look different, even in those clothes. I have seen so many broad shouldered, trim men who make those waders look hot, and I don’t mean weather conditions. Suddenly I’m driving down the road, dreaming of fishing encounters, instead of looking for geysers and other wild life. It could be the time traveling alone. Men can say it, so I will: you just miss knowing that you can have sex if you want to. While I can single handedly take care of all of my needs (read that however you want), this is when you miss a companion. This is when the solitary life loses just a tiny bit of its shimmer, not enough to send me running home… but enough to cause some oggling of fly fishermen.
This may also have to do with why I got so much writing done today, as well. I’m working on two particular chapters of the novel, that have some very explicit sexual content. Stating a fact, I can write sex really well. While it’s been a tad awkward to submit some of those chapters (ok, yes, there are more than a couple) to my writing group, the feedback has been very positive. I’m not exactly bragging about that… but for those of you who gossip, that’s how it will be retold anyway, and for my kids… if you read this far despite the warning: Mom writes good sex. Today, with manly men all around, missing the the chance to act on such feelings, I think my writing took a decidedly exciting step forward. Inspiration: it is all over this park!
Regarding bad parents… there are a lot of them in wild places. Maybe because my own children are not here, for me to make my own mistakes with, I’m noticing all these other parents making them. At Old Faithful, 6 yr old (ish) child takes his cup and just tosses it out on to the gravel area around the geyser. I am aghast. My kids would never do that! Good mom, pulls jr aside and quietly has a fairly lengthy, serious looking chat with him. Good mom, good mom I’m thinking… teach your son that we never throw garbage anywhere but in the trash, especially in these special places. I sit there on the bench, pleased that other moms teach this. However, when she is finished, she looks over at the cup, no doubt realizing she’ll have to step off the platform to get it, and walks away. Bad mom. What was the point in scolding jr if, in the end, your message is “well, if it’s too much trouble, littering is ok for now”? I picked the cup up and threw it away. I pick up a lot of people’s litter as I walk.
Case #2- pulled in to a picnic area, as there was this amazingly huge bison bull standing right there, 3 ft from the paved area. The setting was beautiful and I saw a great picture in my grasp. One other carload of people was already there, watching quietly, and we all exchanged knowing smiles… we were catching a moment in Yellowstone. A third car, minivan, pulled up and promptly a father jumped out. The bull looked his way, at the sudden movement, but stayed where he was standing. Before we could say “are you out of your fucking mind”, he pulls out his 3 little girls and lines them up about 6′ in front of the bull for a photo. I glance at car 1 and we all have the same horrified look. (Ok, so maybe this bull is going to just stand there, but given that bison are by far the most dangerous animals in the park, what I’m seeing seems pretty damned scary).
As we watch, the dad keeps ushering the girls back a little more with a flutter of his hand… a more exciting picture would be for them to pet the bull no doubt. He speaks no English, because when I try to say quietly, “that’s not a good idea”, he smiles and nods. Then the little girls, all blowing bubbles with their gum and laughing, begin clapping their hands and clicking, like you would to get a horse moving. Damn! I snapped. “Stop that, stop that now” I hissed loudly, wagging my finger at dad. The girls looked my way, trying to figure out what this meant, the dad paused and then started to take another picture… “right now!! stop that!!” He may not have spoken English but he figured out that he didn’t want this crazy lady coming after him. I am clearly more frightening than a 2000 lb bison, when angered. He promptly ushered the girls back in the car and they drove away. The other car rolled down their windows and congratulated me on taking charge… I felt a moment’s guilt frankly, knowing that perhaps I really should just mind my own business, the bull was still just standing there. No harm. But I hadn’t stopped to photograph 3 little pink girls get gored by a pissed off bison.
The stories of bad parents abound here. People actually feeding water mellon to a coyote: illegal, dangerous, and plain old stupid, and then throwing the water mellon on the ground as they leave, while their kids take pictures and clamber to get closer. As I pulled up the mother told me: “There’s a wolf in there, my husband’s feeding it water mellon” (ok, she did have a deep drawl, so in retelling this story to friends, the accent was there!) “A wolf? are you sure? “I’ve just spent 3 days with one of the world’s leading wolf experts and a lot of wolfers over in Lamar, and wolves really don’t come over here.” I said. “Weeeell, my husband told me it’s a wolf, and he’s feeding it right over there.” “Well, no one should be feeding any of these animals, but how exciting for you all.” Ok, I did sound sanctimonious. I did. And, just in case I was wrong, I crept over closer, past the young boy clicking away with his camera, and there was a man throwing pieces of water mellon to a coyote.
I walked back to my car and she smiled, “See, is it a wolf?” “No, I’m absolutely sure it’s a coyote” I stated. My wolf expertise expanded as I spoke and my arrogance as well. Right then her husband “Jimmy”, came over with a huge grin and before I could say bohicky his wife said: “This here lady’s a wolf expert and she says that’s a coyote Jimmy.” Jimmy did not look pleased and turned on me quickly: “That’s a woof lady, I’m pretty certain of that fact. And how would you know anyway?” I wasn’t actually looking to have a fight with Jimmy, in some isolated canyon, but his tone just bothered me. “Well sir, I’ve been watching wolves for 3 days in the Lamar Valley, where they live. They don’t come over here. I’m absolutely certain that is coyote.” “I’ve been around the block a few times lady and that there is a woof.” Ok, this is where I had to draw the line… be the stream I so often miss being. I smiled and said “Then that was a very amazing sighting. When you get those pictures back, it will be pretty cool to show them to your friends.” His wife looked at me knowingly and followed Jimmy back to their camper.
Let Jimmy show his friends those photos. I can only wonder what block he’s been around, but that thar was a cayote. As I exited the park today, I couldn’t help myself. “Excuse me ranger… are there any wolves over in Firehole canyon?” “Absolutely not, why?” “Well, I saw this man feeding water mellon to what he insisted was a wolf. Looked like a coyote to me”. “Idiot! I hope you told him not to feed that coyote… loads of coyote back there, but people like that get them killed, feeding them…(blah blah blah, Ranger info) they start getting aggressive around humans, because they want food.” I smiled appreciatively. Ranger had me at “Idiot.”
I had planned to eat dinner in the park, and headed out toward Old Faithful, hoping to find a good burger tonight. However, I’ve had a sinus infection since day 2 of this trip and it took a bad turn over night. I’ve now got a bit of a fever and a killer headache that I just can’t seem to shake. Here in West Yellowstone, pharmacy’s only open M-F … Montanans don’t get sick on weekends I presume. I was stupid to leave home without antibiotics, given my immune deficiency. When I get sick, it can get bad quickly. However, I figured my pharmacy at home could just ok an antibiotic (there’s always one on record at home) and I’d be much better by tomorrow. Nope. I have to wait this baby out until Monday. I was planning to go to the rodeo tonight, but not sure I could handle all those Rodeo princesses and prayers, with this particular headache. I realized 3/4 of the way to O.F. that all I wanted to do was come back to my quiet little cabin, find a good burger, read my book and finish another chapter I started writing. Bikers. About 15 motorcycles, all red, white or blue (for real folks) lined up where cars had been this morning. The rumbling of their coming and going has already changed my night. The fact that this particular group seems to need to yell their laundry plans, dinner plans and jokes across the parking lot, doesn’t help. “Carl, you want me to run some of your under ware baby?”
Ok, so no doubt this headache is not helping my tendency for somewhat prejudiced cliches and snarky comments here, but NO doubt, somewhere out there, Jimmy is telling his friends about that uppity East coast lady (I’m sure he read that in my manners) who couldn’t tell a cayote from a woof.