Yellowstone National Park
We visited Yellowstone National Park in May. Looking back at our photographs, I'm awed again and again at the rough hewn beauty of Yellowstone. You may have heard that Yellowstone is a supervolcano. I'm glad we had a chance to see it before it blows the western half of the country to the smithereens (don't worry, no one really knows exactly if/when it might happen). Supervolcano aside, danger is palpably present, everywhere. I'm reading "Death In Yellowstone", a comprehensive account of all the ways people have been dying in the park since its inception. Boiling to death in hot springs, death from exposure, falling off cliffs, lightning, animal encounters... as horrific as these events were and are, they do nothing to diminish the pull of the park. Beauty and danger together never fail to enthrall.
The beauty and roughness of Yellowstone are inspiring. The backdrop is beautiful, of course, but the daily dramas that play out in the landscape put most of our first-world problems to shame. Animals here live as they always have, from hand to mouth, and only the physically toughest, most resourceful make the cut. Yet there is no complaining, no whining, life just is and simply exists. Within such a vast expanse, you feel small - and therefore free. I wish we could spend more time in wide-open, wild spaces. They are a reminder, a big nudge, that we are all part of something much, much bigger and that everything - perfect and imperfect - is ok, just as it is.
Since our trip to Yellowstone, I've finished fellowship and officially become an attending. Yesterday was my first day on service. As tenuous as it feels, I'll try to carry this inspired strength with me as I move forward.
Thanks for reading. For more photos, check out the Travel section. I hope these images of Yellowstone will inspire you too.