I’ve tried with little success to avoid the extensive news coverage of the anniversary of the 9/11/01 bombings in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. It’s not that it’s not worth remembering, even if it is uncomfortably sad at times. It’s just that we get daily reminders that the tragedy of 9/11 did not end with the events of that day. The “war on terror” that 9/11 spawned has been a decade long extension of that day’s violence that has produced more tragedy than triumph.
Who would have thought that many times the 3,000 original 9/11 victims would die in the subsequent decade of fighting and that so many of the people killed or affected by the aftermath would be just as innocent as those who died on that day? The whole sequence that has unfolded since then reminds me of a desperate attempt to battle cancer with chemotherapy. Doctors and patients acknowledge that chemotherapy attacks a specific problem with a systemic treatment that, while potentially effective against the cancer, may well do significant harm to other parts of the body. In fact the treatment itself might be fatal. It is an act of desperation. Every day the world reels with the side effects of our chemotherapy attack on terrorism.
So, I’ve tried to avoid too much exposure to the media remembrance of this anniversary, but with little success. Today after Sunday morning breakfast in Livingston as has come to be our custom, we took a drive through the city park along the Yellowstone River–also as has come to be our custom. But, deviating from that customary itinerary, we decided on the spur of the moment to cross a one-lane bridge to a residential area on a small island in the middle of the river. In our thirty years in this part of the country, we’d never actually driven over to the island although we’ve driven by the bridge countless times. The island road crosses under another bridge, this one carrying Interstate 90 across the river and the island. It was on the I-90 bridge support that we saw this mural. It was not until after I’d looked over the mural for a while that I saw the date in the lower right hand corner (shown below).
What’s that saying, “there’s no such thing as coincidence; everything happens for a reason”? It’s going to take me a while to figure out why this happened today.
All the Comforts of Home
Brooks Lake, Wyoming
The campground hosts at Brooks Lake use their spare time to decorate the pit toilets with tables, rugs, reading material, wall art and even telephones. The phones didn’t actually work (there was no electricity or even cell phone service in the area), but they said they were wanting to be able to make them ring whenever someone went in and sat down. We were camped right across from this toilet and whenever someone would go to use it for the first time they would invariably at least giggle if not laugh out loud.
Looking across Brooks Lake to the Pinnacle Buttes where the high point is at 11,516 feet. While I’m partial to black and white landscapes anyway, converting this photo to black and white had the added advantage of mostly hiding the fact that about 50 percent of the forests on the slopes of the mountain are dead due to beetle kill. Climate change? What climate change?
When I was a kid in Kansas, summer camping trips to Colorado were always major events in our family and a big treat on those trips was coming to the continental divide at the top of some high mountain pass. Because of those trips, to me, the continental divide became synonymous with craggy peaks at the top of the world. Of course I later realized that there are less inspiring points on the divide, places where a signpost on a seemingly flat highway is the only indication of the change in geography.
At Brooks Lake these shear 500′ cliffs met my childhood expectation of the divide, at least partially. A couple of miles away at the northern end of these cliffs there is a break in the spine of rocks through which a trail runs and on which I was able to stroll to the divide, barely fifty feet elevation gain from where I was standing when I took this photo.
I heard temperatures have been over 100 degrees in some parts of the country the last couple of days. But at 9,000 feet in the Wind River range, it got down to 22 degrees Friday morning producing a large amount of frost on leaves that while still green aren’t going to be for long. I remember about 30 years ago spending a long Alaska winter night in a tent when it got down to some 30 below zero. By comparison, Friday’s 22 degrees seems quite balmy but is still about as daring as I care to get these days. I’m not saying I couldn’t still survive a colder night without some sort of heater, just that I don’t want to have to. Must be getting old.