This has been not only a physical journey in my moho but also a spiritual and emotional one. The last 48 hours have been emotionally exhausting in the extreme. Never in my life have I felt so completely disconnected and irrational.
I have found many reasons to delay my arrival at Yellowstone; I suppose on some level I was aware that this was going to be a life-changing visit. But, I had no idea what I was in for. This has been harder on me than the day Frank died. I have not eaten in 2 days. Even Cassie is "off her feed" and we are both having GI troubles. She senses that her leader ain't right in the head. I had a minor meltdown 2 nights ago and Theresa called and talked me off the ledge.
I finally left the state park around 1pm (more delay as checkout was noon). Enroute to the Madison CG where I had reservations for 2 nights. I saw no bison, no elk, no coyotes, wolves or bears. I saw one bald eagle.
Checked into the campground and was immediately overcome with bone-deep fatigue. I could hardly move and even though the day was glorious and warm, I went to bed. I decided to postpone the task of locating the place where I wanted to spread Frank's remains until the next day.
Along the way, I stopped in the Park Bookstore and they had a CD Listening Station with headsets where you could listen to samples of music before buying (another delay!) Naturally, I found one I LOVED called Journey to Yellowstone and began to cry buckets. I left quickly to continue my hike for a spot that I thought suitable for Frank.
Here is a statement that reflects what Buddists believe about life and death:
Life is a journey.
Death is a return to earth.
The universe is like an inn.
The passing years are like dust.
Regard this phantom world
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp - a phantom - and a dream.
I could not stop crying afterwards and made myself nauseous. I forced myself to go up for the Ranger Night Chat at the amphitheater and cried all through the presentation, which was about what the wildlife does to get ready for winter. I found it a strange parallel to my own life where I feel like my dangerous, empty season is approaching and I had not prepared for the perils of winter life.
Interestingly, it also explained why there were no animals around. The climate change had caused high summer temperatures to be extended by two weeks and the animals had already migrated to higher, cooler elevations to eat their preferred high-fat/calorie diet to prepare for winter. I forgot to take a flashlight and got lost in the dark campground on the way back but finally found my moho spot.
I had a ton of wood that I had transported from Lake Tahoe, so I decided to make a campfire. It was a truly masterful campfire! I burned the cremation storage box and bag. I cried all the while and looked up at the inky velvet nightime sky where it seemed the brightness of the stars equaled the blackness of the sky. A rutting bull elk bugelled somewhere in the distance. It was peaceful.
Early this morning around 5:30am, I decided to leave Yellowstone--vowing never to return. I drove in the dark to a nearby turnout to go back to sleep until daylight. The thrifty side of me returned back to the campground to get my night's prepaid reservation fee refunded.
As I write, I realize that it is therapeutic for me to recall my journey and say a private and meaningful final goodbye to Frank. I know the tears are not over yet, but something in my life is complete now although I still feel like crap.
Tomorrow, I begin travelling south toward Albuquerque, my final destination stop of my trip before returning to Cape Coma.