Weekly Gratitude 2/20- Yellowstone National Park

I don’t think I am alone in that my memories are frequently negative.  Studies have shown, bad memories linger longer and are remembered more vividly than good ones. Writing these gratitude lists forces me to sit down and remember how much freakin’ fun I’ve had in my life. This one is about the summer I worked in Yellowstone.

  1. When I was twenty, I lived at Yellowstone for a summer, working at the Lake Hotel, washing dishes.
  2. When we got there six years after the fire of 1988, we drove past miles of charcoaled trees and watched videos of bison goring tourists.
  3. We had no car and hitchhiked through the park.
  4. My favorite thing (perhaps in my whole life) was when someone picked us up in a pick-up truck. We sat in the back and had the most amazing panoramic view in the fresh air.
  5. I’d walk unbelievably close to grazing bison on my way to the dish room each morning.
  6. We swam wherever we saw ice-cold Wyoming water, not caring if it was a beach.
  7. and jumped off cliffs by waterfalls.
  8. We hiked miles through the dark one night to camp in the backcountry, clapping our hands to keep the bears away.
  9. where we built a fire and drank too much.
  10. Multitudes of sparkling stars hung above us in the deep darkness of night.
  11. We sat in the spot where a hot spring enters the Gardner River, making a natural hot tub.
  12. And covered our skin with mud from the edge.
  13. A woman from Spain made a bucket of sangria in our dorm room with real fruit chunks.
  14. We drove to a bar in Montana and drank Bailey’s and butterscotch schnapps, what they called Cowboy Cocksuckers.
  15. I read Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
  16. and listened to my cassette tape of Ghost of a Dog .
  17. No one had any money. We always ate in the workers’ cafeterias and sat around campfires at night.
  18. I took pictures with my disposable camera and waited until I got home for the thrill of developing them.
  19. Everything was breathtakingly beautiful.
  20. I’m not in touch with one person from that summer and don’t even remember most of their names, but, God, am I grateful for that wild time we had together in the woods.

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