I went over to another park this weekend (mine are Monday-Wednesday). I went for two reasons--one because I had never been there and two because I had friends there to stay with. I mean friends there I wanted to say hello to.
I left Monday morning and headed down the two-lane highway. I saw the golden eagle, fing ran over the snake, swerved for the squirrels, and quietly drove on listening to XM channels. I listen to them like I watch TV switching every couple of seconds. I notice some stuff on the road which reminded me of blood until I rounded the corner to find 15 large ball swinging black bulls walking down the road. I slowed down and the rancher stopped and waved me up. "Just ease your way through". Now they were walking the direction I was going and every damn time I went to go around one, it cut me off. 20 minutes later with my vehicle splattered with cow shit, I was on my way. I watched as a coworker in her BMW (obviously paid more than me) was doing Mach 1 up the road. I flashed my lights and gave her the slow down sign (one finger point down). She said today she wasn't sure why I was telling her that, but decided she better slow down before the corner. Luckily she did.
I arrived at the park and met up with my friends. We did what all good park service people do--talk about everyone else and where they are, who they are with, etc. And then I went over to JB's house. We primarily laid around watching TV, playing with his cats, and discussing life. We finally settled on dinner in town (40 minutes away) and the Dukes of Hazzard.
Tuesday I finally climbed out of bed and went hiking. I hit various areas of the park all which seemed too damn crowded to me. I climbed up this rock and found my digital camera malfunctioning. I wanted to throw it off, but instead smiled and took pictures with my other one. So no photos. Then I went and hiked up to some falls. It was nice and there weren't that many people. I climbed down to the pool where the falls were cascading into and stripped down to my sports bra and black underwear. Then I climbed into the pool for a quick dip. Then people invaded my space and I went away meeting way too many people on the way up. I returned to the village, got an ice cream cone and headed back to JB's for a shower and more TV time on the couch.
Wednesday morning I finally got moving about 10am. I had picked out several hikes from a book that said I would most likely see a bear. I came to a realization during this hike of searching for a bear---if you are searching for something such as a bear, goshawk, and I will even throw in religion here---you will never find or see it. When you find or see such things are at unexpected times in your life. And it is those times that are so much more special. So I didn't see a bear and I am not upset over it. I am rather glad because the damn thing probably would have chased me down. And I ended my weekend with a drive back in reflection of sorts...
This past week in the Park Service, a fellow park ranger, Jeff Christensen passed away. He died from a fall he endured while on a backcountry patrol. I didn't know him, but he has made an impression on me. He had told someone once this quote:
You know, if I ever die while at work in the mountains, do not cry for me because you will know that I died doing what I love. But if I die in a car accident on my way to an office job, then cry for me because you will know I was miserable and not doing what I loved. - - JC
And that is exactly how I feel. If I succumb to my end in the depths of nature, then I will forever be at peace. My living will explains to celebrate my life and not cry about my passing. I have lived a wonderful life up to this point. Sure it has had its downfalls, but those downs have lifted me up and brought me to where I am today. Loving life each day as if it is the last.