02 September 2009


Well, my Summer of vacations has ended. I went to nine different states and five different countries between the ides of April and the depths of August. Most recently, I traversed across the United States on a classic, Chevy Chase style vacation with my family. We drove from Salt Lake (the city, not the lake. We actually didn't spend any time in the lake- too salty) to West Yellowstone, Montana. I accidently put MO into our GPS to get us to Montana, but as you geographers know, MO is the abbreviation for Missouri. We didn't figure it out until somewhere near Austin, Texas. You'd think that when we saw the sign saying "Welcome to Texas" after three days of driving we would have gotten a clue, but alas, it took us all the way to Austin before we turned around. That was pretty much our entire vacation.
'No, seriously, David. Tell me about Yellowstone! I want to know what a hot pot is and if Old Faithful still looks like a whale spout! Did you make al dente pasta in Old Faithful? It's very economical; the water is already boiling and there is no need to add a pinch of salt!'
Well, alright, since you asked. Old Faithful is still spouting religiously, and hot pots are pools of naturally boiling water that often take on pastel colors, such as ashen gray or a dark robin's egg blue. In Yellowstone we saw Bison/Buffalo (not sure what the difference is- I believe we saw bison), elk, deer, geese, Siberian snow leapards (both of them in existence), bald eagles, osprey, gorillas, and chipmonks, which we named McChipnuggets when we got really hungry.
I loved the vacation for many reasons, namely the Asian tourists who seem to have taken over our National Parks in an effort to manufacture their own Grand Canyons and geisures. China can provide the manpower, but I just don't think they have the 1,000,000 years required to carefully -cautiously- craft caverns capably. My other favorite thing about Yellowstone was the uninhabited aspect of its beauty. As far as the eye can see, and as long as the finger can point, there is natural, organic beauty. Not the type of beauty that comes with curling irons, earrings, nailpolish and other particularly pungent products, but real, raw, respectful beauty. Beauty that Americans can call our own. This is the Land of Liberty, and the spanning forests and soaring Eagles confirm it.
I had a punctuating observation about Yellowstone, which has slipped my mind at present.

Wait, there it is: The Earth is alive. Yellowstone is a hotbed of geological activity that never cools and never sleeps. She never gets sore throats because she's constantly gurgling salt water, and her heaving motions are astoundingly heavy. The Earth moves like a tortoise- slow but with meaning. Although She has no abecedarian concepts, Mother Earth can talk, and I heard her. She told me to turn off the lights when I leave a room, recycle my plastic bags, walk don't drive, conserve paper, and- this one is still baffling me- "Man who cook carrots and peas in same pot is unsanitary." I don't know where that one came from, but that's what She said! Mother Earth, you're the greatest! Being with my family in America's fantastic National Park was an American adventure that everyone should enjoy. Perhaps not with my family (only because there isn't enough time), but with their own families. The Chinese are sure fulfilling that charge.
Note: I hope you got the pun in the proverb, from Mother Earth.

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