Thursday, June 20, 2013

Western Wyoming-ing


Well, once again words and pictures (even video) cannot even come close to describing the kind of day I had today.

First of all, here are a couple of pictures I took last night after I had published my blog. This is River sitting under the table as we waited for my dinner order, and then my view from the same table. It’s pretty, right? I bet it’s amazing in the winter, too.

Last night, in the motel room, I kept hearing a buzzing coming from the TV. After a while I realized it was a flying bug, not an electronic buzz. And then, I saw it. It was a huge wasp, but it seemed to be content to stay behind the TV console. Every once in a while it would venture up the wall, but then it never flew from there, it was just crawl back down inside and all of the buzzing came from within. It was strange. I decided it wasn’t going to hurt me, so I slept in the room with it, with no incident.

This morning, we woke up in Jackson and I went to get Thumper a bath. After our dirt-road adventure yesterday, she was looking worse for wear. It was so dirty that whenever I closed a door it would create a little dust cloud. After the wash, her copper was brilliant and she sparkled again.

The first leg of today’s trip was along the Hoback River. I had another one of those moments when, as I drove over rolling hills covered with pine trees and as the Hoback shimmered alongside the road, I was filled with gratitude for the opportunity to  be on the earth and to witness such beauty.

A bit further down the road, we stopped at Green River, and I was so thrilled that we had stumbled upon a beach. At first I thought it was just going to be another view and I would be longing to be in the water, (or to climb the trees or mountains or run in the grassy field) but as we got closer I saw the sand and even the shore of the river, so we eventually went in. 

At one point, I noticed that River was hanging out in the shade of a tree rather than joining me on the trek to the water, which made me realize that the sand was probably really hot on his feet. So I picked him up and carried him to the river’s edge. It was also insanely windy, (I almost lost the drivers side door when I first opened it to get out) and it was sandblasting our eyes when we faced into the wind. It was especially bad down at dog level.  If it weren’t for the heinous winds we probably would have stayed in the water longer, but as it is, what you see in the video is just about all we did in the water. But it felt SO good and I’m glad we did it.

Back on the road for a while... and then the terrain changed. The mountains were now rock formations and the rolling grassy hills became flat, brush-covered plains. My first observation was that I always thought those rust colored rock formations were bigger. But the first ones I saw were probably only about ten or fifteen feet high. Of course my first thought was, “I could climb that really fast!”

And I also noticed that instead of the high peaks of the mountains of Montana or the Grand Tetons, the mountains here were all flat on the top. And all at the same level. I imagined someone had come by with a big knife and sliced off all the tops of the mountain range.

I knew I had really arrived in prairie country when instead of chipmunks running across the road, I saw a prairie dog. And then I saw a road runner.

And again I was impressed by the vastness and the infinite feeling of land spreading out far and wide. Its a weird phenomenon, that when I try to take a video of what I’m seeing, the road looks a lot more prominent in the video that what I’m seeing. To me it seems like the road is a tiny, hairline stripe on the expansive high desert plain, but when I look at the video, the road takes over. Maybe it’s a trick my mind plays by erasing the road and emphasizing the surroundings. I don’t know. As I look at the video, I think it has to do with the wider peripheral vision my eyes have over the camera. I can take it more on either side of the road. So, this is why I always pan side to side.

The place I was teaching was only two blocks from the motel, so we just walked. River’s crate never seems heavy until I try to carry it for more than five minutes. But it was either carry the crate for five minutes or drive for 45 seconds. I felt that walking was the only logical thing to do.

When I do these gigs, I never know what I’m getting into. This one is a perfect example. I’ve never met Lisa Bader, who set the whole thing up for us, and I was going to a school auxiliary gym. And none of the people in this town know me or even know OF me, so I wasn’t sure if anyone would come. I had images of me and two other people dancing in a dark, echo-y annex.

I kept hearing a buzzing coming from the TV. After a while I realized it was a flying bug, not an electronic buzz. And then, I saw it. It was a huge wasp, but it seemed to be content to stay behind the TV console. Every once in a while it would venture up the wall, but then it never flew from there, it was just crawl back down inside and all of the buzzing came from within. It was strange. I decided it wasn’t going to hurt me, so I slept in the room with it, with no incident.

But I was delighted to see the room was big, basically clean and had nice-feeling floors. Not wood like a typical gym, but sort of a rubbery material that felt good under my feet. The acoustics were great, so I don't think hearing me was a problem, but the students kept wanting to spread out and fill the space, and I wanted them to all clump together so I didn't have to teach to all four corners of the gymnasium.

We had a dozen students show up and they were ready to rock. I had a great time, and judging by the smiling faces I was seeing, I’d say they enjoyed the class, too. Some pictures were taken, but I don't have them yet. I hope to get copies and will share them if I do.

Afterwards, Lisa, her husband Todd and I ordered food delivered to my motel room. We were originally planning to order take out and eat it at the park, but it was so ridiculously windy. And, in the desert, even if it was 85 degrees that day, it gets cold at night, and all I was wearing were damp Nia clothes. So we opted to eat in the room. We had great conversation over some mediocre food, but all in all I had a great time.  It was my second bison burger in two days. I think they're really into their bison burgers here in Wyoming.

I’d love to teach here again. I hope the community will welcome me back.

Now, I’m exhausted and planning to go to bed early.  Tomorrow, I’m driving east, almost all the way across Wyoming, to Cheyenne.  More to follow.



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