I thought I’d sit down on the ground very quietly, and immerse myself in the wilderness. I imagined I’d run my hands and fingers through the grass and the earth. I saw myself standing in the middle of the scenery, stretching my arms as high as I could, to hug the world. I’d tilt my head towards the sky, close my eyes, and let out an almighty whoop.
I had dreamed about this for so long and I had the perfect plan.
Of course, none of that happened. Romantic anticipation and true reality rarely meet face-to-face. There were lots of nervous moments, brought about by nothing more than my anxious tendencies.
I pressed and rolled the sage between my palms, which heightened the scent and made the smell last longer. It was delightful. Although I had thought about sage a lot before our trip, it wasn’t one of the things that I obsessed about. The smell of it will be one thing that I’ll remember fondly, though. Well, at least as long as my mind lets me remember it.
Looking through the shelves of a big-brand store back in San Francisco, I was excited when I came across candles featuring the promising label “Sage & Citrus”.
What a crushing disappointment. Nothing like the fresh, unobnoxious, clean smell of the real thing.
I’d give anything to be back there right now, for another chance to sit down on the ground very quietly, and do my thing. My religious ritual. It would be so romantic, so perfect.
In reality, that’s a load of shit.
As I write this, it’s freezing in Yellowstone. Literally. At night, it’s well below freezing. It won’t be long and there’ll be snow on the ground, and the earth will be hard from the cold. Many of the wonderfully inviting lodges and amenities inside the Park are now closed for the winter.
And if I was there, I’d be so anxious to fish, I wouldn’t be able to focus on anything else. But right now, there’s no cool, inviting water to wet-wade in. The water is only a degree or so above freezing. In fact, there are shelves of frozen water, all through some of the most famous rivers in the world. Tough way to fish, through the ice, dangling a mayfly nymph, with the very unlikely premise that a cutthroat would take it.
My grandiose expectations and the stark reality of the frozen wilderness are even further apart than the physical distance from Australia to Yellowstone.
But I’d still go. It is, after all, the most beautiful place on earth.