Every sound is new. Every breath drawn is deep and free and full of meaning. There is only the present, and it’s what serene strives to be. There are many kinds of magic at the Firehole Ranch, but the enchantment that ensnares me most happens when exploring alone in the forest. Most days I escape just after lunch, setting sail on animal trails that cut and cross between Watkins Creek and Coffin Lake. When I am in this wild and natural place searching for exotic animals and flowers, joy just bubbles up and out of me. Think Grandpa Joe in Wonka’s first factory of chocolate. I effervesce.
Today I was treated twice, first by this pretty patch of yellow columbine flowers, a buttercup, that are in bloom only a dozen weeks a year. Then by a big cinnamon colored black bear running away from me through a meadow. She was aware of me before I was her, as the funny sound I couldn’t quite place was her going from a distance of 20 yards to 50 yards through tall grass and into a thick part of the woods. I kept my distance, but changed my angle by sidestepping in, what I was now thinking of as her meadow, and was able to see a dark colored cub coursing over a log and evacuating quickly out of site. No chance for photo, but one big grin, and an experience that will carry for years.
Somewhere between exalted and exhilarated, and another day on the Firehole Ranch.