It is official that I'm catching a cold/caught a cold...so I decided to sleep in this morning and take a "day off." Which turned into me getting and oil change, doing laundry, some grocery shopping, and sitting inside the lounge area of the canyon lodge. It was nice just to be inside somewhere for a while that wasn't my car, especially because it was cold and rainy.
I stopped at the Canyon Visitor Center while I waited for the oil change. When I handed over my keys I had to explain that I'm living out of my car this summer, and no you can't move the seat back because there are drawers behind the seat. He was cool about it. Living in the car has been good and I still have only spent one night in my tent, and I think two in hotels. My front seat is like my "junk drawer" and is always a mess but the rest of my living quarters have stayed pretty clean. Anyway...the visitor center had a video playing so I decided to watch. I learned some stuff despite a girl in the group behind me insisting on reading the subtitles aloud "under" her breath. Shut up! There's a nerd in the audience who wants to learn! Anyway learning prevailed. The video talked about the earth never being still - it is ever changing, and that is very apparent in Yellowstone. A volcano obliterated a mountain range here in a matter of days (what!!?) and because of the volcanic soil, only certain hardy plants like lodge pole pines can survive. They also described Yellowstone as "strange and mysterious," which describes exactly how I've felt about the landscape here. It's all just a little weird. Geysers? Weird. Hot springs? Weird. Marshmallowy terraces? Weird. Bubbling mud pots? Weird. Canyon with the most unusually colored rocks ever? WEIRD! "Strange and mysterious" is a more elegant descriptor than weird, but it's honestly how I've felt about Yellowstone from a painters perspective. Another quote brought me back to a conversation with a grad student I met yesterday - "a flicker of an eye in the life of our planet." I don't know much about global warming...how much of it is inevitable and how much of it we've accelerated, but I think it's probably some of both. I had this weird (apparently my new favorite word) moment of feeling verrrrrry small in the face of time. It is crazy to think that life on our planet may be radically different, or completely non existant, in thousands of years. Maybe we will be like Wall-E. But in the face of this big picture thought, I didn't feel any differently about my life or what I'm doing with it. Art will prevail across time and generations, and I am very content adding to the visual history of our national parks.
I have been on the road for about six weeks now. Wow! I feel like I'm in a bit of a Six Week Slump. Something similar happened at some point on our bike trip too. When the newness and excitement has worn off a bit, but the end looms unattainably far away. Not that I want this trip to be over...but I've been on the road for a long time. And getting sick isn't helping. Hope to get my head back in the game tomorrow because there is work to be done!
|No pics today...so here's a photo of Thomas Moran, painting into old age like a boss.|