Our move to Wyoming was anything but smooth. Our first and only weekend in Wyoming was cut short due to snowfall and my husband’s interview schedule for his new position. The wife of his soon to be boss drove me around town to show me what she had learned about in her six months in Wyoming, complete with an evening at their house on Cedar Mountain that had views that could take your breath away. The drive up their road was tricky though, there were rabbits everywhere!
A realtor assigned by the company would drive us around neighborhoods, but would not actually show us a house since there was no offer in hand. I remember the feeling of nausea and anticipation about how our lives might be changing and the lack of understanding by the one person who was assigned to help me see myself living here.
The quaint downtown street with the mountain views and mule deer wandering the sidewalks sold me on the place despite my fears. Back in Texas, we leased a house sight unseen on the road to Yellowstone. It would not be until a few weeks later, and my husband's early arrival that I would understand this small summer tourism town was not one you could navigate online. You had to be here in person. Talking to people, except not on Sundays since “we all go to church dear” or after 5 pm or before 9 am.
It was my husband's alarmed call from that first night in a dark, quiet cabin that made me realize how bad our plan actually had been. As he described the herd of Elk outside the door, his lack of outdoorsiness and the talk of how to be cautious at night because of Grizzly bears let us know we weren’t in Kansas anymore Toto.
As we drove through our old neighborhood and passed the cabin this past weekend after our morning skiing, I was struck by its beauty and a longing to have a home someday out there. It was no longer the isolated wilderness that we once imagined. It was a beautiful landscape of home.
The other side of the story:
“You guys want to have some fun? I saw Texas plates turn off the main road, let’s see what they’ve got!” “3-2-1 Now! Dart in and out in front of the car as fast you can as they make that turn up the mountain road! “ “Whee!!! Whoa, that was close!” “I have never seen so many rabbits,” said the wife to her husband. “I am so glad you didn’t hurt one of the poor little things,” she said. “That was hilarious, nice job Joe! Let’s wait until they leave and do it again. I love these outsiders.”
Such is the life of an animal in Yellowstone Country. Unsuspecting humans enter into a wilder world from whence they came, and the animals have a bit of fun at their expense.
Meanwhile, up on the North Fork, some juveniles from the Cody Elk Herd are planning a little prank. These poor Texas folks have no idea what they are in for. “Uncle Jack, can you help us out with a prank? We need a Bull Elk to make some noise.” “The sounds I make are not a joke. We only use that sound in rutting season,” said Jack. “I know Uncle Jack, but just this once? Only a bull can make that sound, and we aren’t old enough yet.” “Okay kids, let me teach you how to do it, and you can practice on the newcomers, but don’t tell your Dad. I don’t see any harm in that. The trick is to let it bubble up from your diaphragm, into a low growl, and then let it erupt like the geysers into an eerie whistle. Got it?” “Okay guys, you heard Uncle Jack, work from the dia something and explode with a roar! Okay, let's get into position the human should be coming back out with his puppy again. We can really scare him!” “Okay, let’s hang near the house, but be quiet until they get close. They can’t see if the dark like we can so wait... Hold a minute... Now!” Just then a small group of juveniles lit up the soundless space with the most bloodcurdling sounds that shocked the human dead in his tracks. A few strange words erupted from the human as he ran as fast as he could with a flying puppy on a leash trailing behind him. “Oh man, here comes Dad, we are in trouble again, but boy was it worth it. See you fellas in the morning. You guys better get going.”
And with that, they all scattered hoping their parents would not know who pulled the prank all the while looking forward to tomorrow night’s time to play with the human again.
This story was prompted by my friend Chris Brogan’s book, Find Your Writing Voice and its accompanying course. His book is a great way to get writing again and find your voice.