Friday, May 21, 2010

Write of Passage - Day 10 (cont.)

August 11, 2010: Yellowstone
(Old Faithful, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm)

"Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can't imagine."
~ Kathleen Norris

"When you pray, be open to the answer. Never assume that it will come in the color your ordered. The hardest thing is recognizing the answer when it's not only NOT the color you asked for, but not even the right size."
~ Mary Weeber, wisdom taken from her Write of Passage letter written to Cote.

It was a "Claritin-clear" kind of moment. You know, the ad on TV, where they pull the dull film back from the corner of the screen and everything before you becomes vibrant, sharp, full of color. That's how it was for Cote and me once we made up from our cell-phone fight. We put the car in gear and headed towards Old Faithful, having sanitized the toxic air inside our vehicle--(inside our hearts)--wiping the layer of dirt and grime from our window on the world. The air between us was breathable again, refreshing, and light. We pulled the car back on the road, blinked, and a whole new Yellowstone came into view.
From that moment on, the national park captured our complete attention. We drank it in, every soul-satisfying ounce, and pushed ourselves to experience as much as possible without missing the magic of any given moment. Cote and I were fully present, to each other, and to the beautiful array of nature all around us. What an awesome 27 hours we had.
Yes.....27. Our original plan of spending only 10 hours in this park, got trumped around 4:00 today. But I don't want to jump too far ahead. There's way too much that happened here. So I think it's best to break Yellowstone up into smaller, more digestible parts.....
Old Faithful was crowded when we arrived. The massive parking lot was packed, with row after row after row of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and tour buses. Huge buildings dotted the perimeters of this natural wonder, including a gigantic hotel, several gift shops, walk up food counters, interactive centers, etc. Old Faithful was leaving nothing to chance.
The sun was warming and the crowd was milling, as Cote and I stepped out of our car and drifted into the mix. We wandered around as we waited for the geyser's next scheduled outburst (12:10 p.m.), but we never completely blended in. This area was just too touristy for us, with all its buildings and boardwalks, benches and bystanders. We did manage to get some of our gift-shopping done........those small tokens of thoughtfulness, that others would be looking for when we got back home. But other than that, we mostly just hung out on the bench in the hot summer sun, waiting for the geyser to build up steam. When Old Faithful did finally do its thing, the flying spray left us a little under-wowed. Cote and I looked at each other and said, "Huh......That's it, isn't it......?"
Old Faithful wasn't as impressive as I had remembered. Of course, the last time I was here, I was twelve. I don't mean to sound snobbish or insensitive, but if I'm going to journal honestly, then I have to say Cote and I failed to feel the hype. Maybe it was all the man-made distractions surrounding the rightful point of interest. Maybe the towering grand hotel behind us, dwarfed the phenomenon taking place in front of us. Whatever the reason, Old Faithful just seemed to fall a bit short. But that's not to say we didn't take something with us when we left. A conversation unexpectedly erupted as Cote and I exited the parking lot.........
"Ok, so Old Faithful wasn't that great. We both agree. But you know what......we could use Old Faithful to remind of us of something much bigger, much more powerful, and forever faithful in our lives."
"I already know where you're going with this, Mom."
"Oh yeah? And where's that?"
"You're talking about God."
"Oooh, Ok. Score one for Cote. But you know what? He's the original 'Old Faithful,' isn't He?.......So maybe that's the message that was here for us today."
Even though Yellowstone's Old Faithful was just so-so on our scale, nothing could dampen our mood. Cote and I were high on a cloud, as we took off further, deeper into the park. We followed the road that would lead us to Artist Point.....not really knowing exactly what Artist Point was, but anxious and excited to find out.
We did make one or two stops along the way, to take some pictures and do a little exploring. One place in particular stood out....Yellowstone Lake.
Cote and I couldn't resist the blue water and
pebble-strewn shoreline, nature in its most purest, untouched form. We found a deserted area, and pulled over. The embankment was pretty steep....
so we slid our way down the hill that brought us to the water's edge. Having the place to ourselves was a blast. The crystal blue lake, the clear sky overhead, and the only sounds being of nature upon the wind......these were just the right ingredients to feed our adventurous souls. Cote "balance-beamed" on a piece of driftwood, tiptoeing her way out into the lake while I tossed rocks into the water at her feet, trying to splash and throw her off-kilter. She was amazing to watch. Agile, giddy and child-like, despite the
fact that she is now practically full grown. Her eyes sparkled, and to my surprise glimmered with not only the endless possibility of youth, but also the slightest hint of wisdom beyond her years.
As Cote teetered back and forth, I thought about the year ahead of us.....the changes that loomed on the not-too-distant horizon. It too would be a tightrope of learning and adjusting. Cote and I would have to find our new sense of balance, as we learned how to walk through the coming changes in our mother-daughter relationship. It would be foolish to think our steps would be carefree, without possibility of a slip or a fall.
But if we worked together, and kept our safety lines secured......if we remembered that each of us was only doing the best we possibly knew how.......then surely we would find ourselves standing on the opposite side, with our feet planted firmly in the soil of tomorrow.
Others began to arrive at our secluded hideaway.
Not many. Just a few who noticed us playing and realized it was OK to pull their car over even though there was no sign saying you could. It was time for us to move on. Cote and I raced back up the hill to our waiting car, and our next waiting adventure.....

Powerful Words

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable. ~Kahlil Gibran