I didn’t tell the full truth in my last post. Probably to protect the … well, not exactly innocent.
To tell the full story, I have to go back a dozen years to one of our earliest semi-annual spring and fall trips to Yellowstone. That fall day we had been hiking without seeing any animals. This wasn’t unusual for those early visits. We seemed to see more animals from the road than in the backcountry, and sometimes that is still true.
As we reach the car, two men on trail crew stop us to say that down another nearby trail, a grizzly is at his kill. I’m sure they mean to keep us away, and who would want to go running toward a grizzly defending his meal ticket through the long Yellowstone winter? As soon as I hear their words, I know the answer.
My husband would want to go down that trail. Running. I try a few dissuasive phrases that sound like “blah, blah, blah” to his ears. I give up and settle in the car, as he grabs his camera and binoculars and starts to rush back into the woods. “It’s been nice knowing ya’,” I offer. Not knowing whether I would see him again, or in what form, I add, “Toss me the car keys.” I am very proud of my presence of mind.
Then I wait. And wait. Eventually, my husband returns. He has indeed come upon the grizzly, who rises up and growls at him while he takes some photos and a very shaky video. He is breathing hard but is still in one piece. Some might describe this behavior in unflattering terms, but others would call this person an optimist.
This same optimist is the one who decided, without much consultation, to plunge ahead into last post’s buffalo herd. I would have been content to find a way around them – there was plenty of daylight and the weather was cooperative. But I had no chance, as the plunger turned his back on me, increasing the distance between us with every step. I had the choice to find my own way around the buffalo, leaving him to his luck with the herd; continue what was proving to be an increasingly loud discussion which might have irritated the animals; or follow along. I followed.
So there you have it! Optimist, realist? It’s been nice knowing ya’!