Sunday, August 31, 2014

Looking forward (and back)....

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
Steve Jobs

The Prius on the ND hills at sunset...

I had hoped to get to a city in Montana for a square dance on Tuesday with a younger caller that I enjoy, but by the time I got a late start, and stopped for various rests to walk around and stopped at the zoo, there was no way that I was getting far into Montana by the evening.  Which worked out well, because I got sidetracked again before getting to the Montana border.  I saw a sign for the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but I had never heard of it before, so didn't think anything of it.  Then, I saw a large elk herd on the side of the road, with probably over 50 animals in it (many little ones).  I was at a point where I needed to stop, and there was a rest area at the next exit, with a sign that said something about a Painted Canyon, and sure enough, when I pulled off, it was a beautiful canyon.  Similar to Palo Duro in Texas.  And the rest area had a description of the park.  The animals it advertised?  Wild bison, wild horses, elk, deer, antelope, prairie dogs, badgers, and snakes, among others.  That did it.  Off I went.  The first thing I saw upon entering, was a deer grazing by the side of the road.  The next, was many prairie dog hills on both sides of the road.  I stopped there for a bit, not just to take pictures of the dogs, but also in hopes of seeing badgers, as the sign had said that was where they tended to be.  After a few minutes, though, the sun was starting to go down, so I headed down the road.  Off on a hillside, was a large herd of wild bison, again with many baby animals.  Got some great pictures, and headed off again.  It was starting to really get dark, but the road I was on was a loop, so thought I would just continue on the road.  That turned out to be a bad idea.  With all the cars off the road, all the bison decided to make their way down out of the hills.  Right in front of my car.  In the dark.  You've seen the State Farm commercial, right?  "Do the jingle!  Do the jingle!!!!"  That's kind of how I felt.  I kept passing herds, waiting for them to pass in front of me across the road, then continuing on.  Until I came around a corner, and passed a 2 bison on the side of the road, and there were a whole bunch on the road in front of me, so I was now surrounded.  And all I could think, was that if they started attacking the car, the Prius and I would be mush in about 5 seconds.  There was a sign right there, that said 11 miles back to the entrance, and I knew that there was less time going back the way I had come, and the herd in front of me showed no sign of wanting to move out of the road, so I very carefully began backing up, recalling the 2 bison behind me.  They ran past, and I turned the Prius around, in a 2 lane road, with guard rails on both sides, and bison on one side.  You can believe I was praying.  "God, please keep the bison off the road on the way out!"  Got turned around, and headed back, only running into one other herd that was quickly crossing the road, but it was a little touch and go there, as well.  Most of the herd had crossed.  There was a mother and baby and another bison past them still on the one side of the road, that showed no sign of crossing.  So I inched forward.  The mom started down the hill to the road.  I stopped.  She stopped.  Turned around and headed back.  I figured, if I could just get past her, I could drive past the last one and be good, so started forward again, fairly quickly.  And down the hill she came.  Straight towards the car.  SCREEECH!  I got good use out of my brakes!  And she, thankfully, went around with her calf, and then I was able to proceed cautiously past the last one, and that was the last herd I passed.  Stopped at the next rest stop on the interstate for a break to stop shaking, and calm myself down, and ended up staying the night there on the side of the road in Montana, and awoke to a beautiful sunrise in the morning.

The next morning, I looked at the map again to see what the rest of my route to Portland looked like, and realized I was passing right through the city where my aunt lives, who I had not seen since my dad 2 years ago, and who I hadn't been able to get to know much before that.  So, I sent her a Facebook message, and quickly received a reply, that I was welcome to come, so even thought it meant a very long day's drive, it meant a very short drive the next morning, and off I went.

Heading off to the last dance of this convention, so leaving it at that again, but looking forward:  leaving Portland in the morning until the 8th, when I get on an airplane to Hawaii.  I got back into touch with my stepmom, who I had also last seen when my dad passed, and am excited that I get to go spend some time with her.  We are going to the local fair, playing cribbage, and getting some good catch up time.  I have really missed seeing her, so really looking forward to it.

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