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The Value Of A Place

             "When we first arrived in West Yellowstone, it was awesome to look at the plains spread out at the foot of the tall mountains. The forests were sparse, but all together it made a breathtaking landscape. I keep imagining what this place looked like as Lewis and Clark made their way through on the Corps of Discovery. The waterfalls, the grasslands, the forests, and among them the elk, bison, wolves and coyotes all roaming in abundance. Once again, breathtaking." - Journal entry, April 26, 2003.
             "Each season, I picked up the feel and taste of cycles. My blood began to learn new rhythms. My body became increasingly fluent in the language of cycles: splitting wood on cold mornings, cleaning a grouse in the evening - the solace, and ceremony, of plucking the feathers. Noticing where elk foraged in summer and where they foraged in winter. Noticing where the bears fed and what they ate. Watching the pulse of different creeks and the Yaak river itself - skinny in autumn, icy but poisoned in winter - wild, joyful, and enormous in spring, then steady and clear on into summer, with caddis flies and mayflies rising from it every evening, and the giant spruce and fir trees shadowing it, keeping it cool and alive . . ." - "The Book Of Yaak" by Rick Bass. .
             The first entry was from my journal as we drove into West Yellowstone park and made our way through up to Gardiner, Montana. The last time I had been here was many years ago with my family. I was little and don't remember anything really. We didn't even stop, we just drove through because this wasn't our final destination. But re-visiting it now, and after reading "The Book Of Yaak", I began to see a new appreciation between the great and small, the living and non-living, the value of a place.
             During our visit, we had a rare opportunity to see ten wolves feeding on the carcass of a bison which had been pulled from the nearby frozen lake. Apparently, the massive creature had fallen through the ice some time before and been trapped there, preserved by the frigid temperatures until a bear happened along and pulled the bison from the "freezer".

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