June 26, 2014
I love the way travel gives us a break from the sinks full of dishes, from the same paths we walk every week and from the internet. It is an opportunity to keep my eyes open and to absorb the the colors and shapes I've not yet seen, the new fields and skies, the hills, curves and dips of new roads. We exchange the comfort of the same bed every night and a bathroom just down the hall for the excitement of foreign landscapes, unpredictable weather, and journeying together.
On our ten (or eleven?) day trip we drove about 2700 miles. First, away from Minnesota through South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and then back eastward through North Dakota. We spent a lot of time taking in the almost endless expanses of green fields and blue skies through the car windows. For three of the days, we hardly drove at all while we enjoyed the comfort of a visit with family. We walked as much as we could around the awesome and strange geology of the Badlands and Yellowstone National Park. We spent far too much time trying to coax Amos to sleep in the tent but each day brought new gifts that more than made up for these rough nights.
It was impossible to resist trying to capture some of these places in photographs. I had our DSLR, my phone and my old Pentax 2000 loaded with 400 speed film but even with all this, I find myself most connected to the images I captured in my mind. I wanted to remember the visions of rushing waterfalls, shuffling, grazing bison, snowy mountain peaks and a mama bear with her cubs. But it wasn't just the sunlight, the colors, the unmatchable beauty of nature that made these sights so worthwhile. There were just as many memories that the camera would never quite contain. The three of us enjoying our time together so thoroughly while Ray and I did our best to make the challenges easier for each other. Feeling the relief that the storm was gone and the sun was finally shining in the Badlands and remembering how hard we laughed as we sat in the car and watched the wind and rain flatten the tent we had just set up. Walking among the plumes of geyser steam lit by the setting sun, long after Amos should have been asleep.
By themselves, the pictures I took may be worth 1000 words. Being in them was worth so much more.