When Beauty And Beauty Meet

Posted June 21, 2017

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When Beauty and Beauty meet 
     All naked, fair to fair, 
The earth is crying-sweet, 
     And scattering-bright the air, 
Eddying, dizzying, closing round, 
     With soft and drunken laughter; 
Veiling all that may befall 
     After — after — 

Where Beauty and Beauty met, 
     Earth’s still a-tremble there, 
And winds are scented yet, 
     And memory-soft the air, 
Bosoming, folding glints of light, 
     And shreds of shadowy laughter; 
Not the tears that fill the years 
     After — after —

by Rupert Brooke (1912)

We don’t actually live in Beauty (our Airstream trailer). Beauty’s more like a big rolling suitcase to facilitate our preference for living outside, in beauty. The outdoors is our home and Beauty our porter … our long, long leash … our silver Walden Pond. Beauty dislodges us from the conventional, the static, and the tedium so we can range wide and hunt down moments.

Gros Ventre Campground – Grand Tetons

Moonlit night moments watching a doe lead her faun to the river … afternoon lightening-storm moments when we run for cover in the vineyard … foggy morning on the beach moments sipping coffee … And, as long as all those moments range between 50-90 degrees, we’re good. More and more we realize what hot-house flowers we are and how our sense of adventure recoils in icy, windy and snowy conditions. When temperatures dip below the 50’s, we hitch-up, turn south and haul-tail.

So what were we thinking? The Tetons and then, Yellowstone for a family reunion! Of course it would snow in June. We expected it to snow in June just like it snowed the last time we were in Yellowstone in 1990 … in June. A year ago, we packed our silk underwear, parkas and boots just for this occasion. All year, we propped ourselves up like doomsday preppers – hoping that won’t kill us will make us stronger.

When we arrived to the Tetons the weather was unseasonable – an incredible 70-90 in the daytime and 40-60 at night! However, snow was predicted within 48 hours. So we got busy. First day, we cycled about twenty miles.

Second day we visited Jackson Hole.

The next day we hiked and the next and the next …

and, then we soaked…

Granite Hot Springs

still no storm but the same weather report: Winter conditions within 48 hours. Flooding due to the incredible melt closed roads and caused long detours across the valley. Okay, what’s next? Kayaking!

First we needed our boats inspected for micro organisms which could negatively impact this fragile environment. We launched “The Smurfs” on String Lake.

and then portaged to Leigh Lake.

Kayaking the crystalline Teton lakes on June 6th, heightened my awareness of Spaceship Earth and this planetary trajectory we’re all in.

So deeply connected to nature…

… in these unique conditions of warm, windless silence, towering snowy peaks, intense sunlight – all combined to create a sense of weightlessness, even flight.

Stroking across the watery vestibule I thought how this place is entitled to the best I have to offer – my attention, engagement, respect, joy and sorrow.

The world is for All – to commune and to immerse in.

Creation is a pleasure to be experienced in the cathedral of Presence, as its nurturing, healing elements flow into the rituals of every faith.

Some things are just inexplicably holy.

There is breath here – an awakening of life – and a call to stewardship.

Trout lingered in the shade of our kayaks. Perhaps we provided cover from the eagles and hawks.

We’d hoped to view large wildlife on the shore,

but gazing too hard at the sun-splashed water called for a short nap instead.

Portaging between the lakes was the toughest part, but our lightweight kayaks made our work easier than if we’d used the rental boats.

As usual, several people inquired about our Advanced Elements inflatables. The Smurfs are great friend-makers.

We didn’t want the day to end and had thought we’d give Jenny Lake a go – but the winter storm predicted for almost two weeks now, suddenly blew in.

On our way home to Gros Ventre Campground (pronounced GROW VAUNT) the scenic eleven-mile detour winding through the valley presented new views of the mountain range and when we finally turned toward home, I thought I saw an almost perfect resemblance to Dürer’s Praying Hands.

Good. We’d need all the help we can get as we travel higher into Yellowstone.

11 thoughts on “When Beauty And Beauty Meet

  1. What a wonderful post! When I woke my very spoiled wife this morning with her coffee (French press, of course), I told her she would love your post and pictures. She is saving the lake names and other highlights into our “to visit” spreadsheet. She retires 6 weeks from tomorrow; until then, we live vicariously through you guys!

    1. Loved your adventure details. You are a great storyteller too! We purchased a new Airstream last January. We hope to someday make the trek out to the Tetons too. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to your next chapter.

  2. We were in GTNP the same week you were, 6/5-6/9. The Gros Ventre road was closed where it intersects 89. Did you gain access to the campground via Antelope Flats Road? We took a hike past Leigh Lake to Trapper Lake. We headed up to Grant Village campground on 6/9 to 6/16. It snowed 4″ from the Monday to Tuesday that week at the campground. It was crowded in Yellowstone at all the thermal and canyon features. I can’t imagine what the crowds will be like in July and August.

    1. Hey Kelvin! We were hoping to sight your Excella at Yellowstone and would have contacted you if not for data-throttling by the park authorities. Jim spent two hours on the phone with Verizon trying to figure out why we had no data while camping under the Verizon tower. One of the rangers told us the throttling is part of the Preservation Program. Oh well… We left the park early due to the crowds and snow and throttling but we made up for the deficit in Big Sky Montana on the Gallitin River. Gorgeous, incredible hiking and NO crowds!

      Hope to meet up with you soon! xoxo

      Safe Travels!

      LIB

  3. What a great post – great pictures and, as always, great commentary…and that kayak video is fantastic!

    Thanks for sharing and help us all live vicariously – keep up the great work.

    Steve

  4. Thank you for taking me (virtually) to one of my favorite places. We stayed a week at Jenny Lake in 1974.

    One thing I wonder about is: are there any relationship strategies that you have found helpful in maintaining harmony given your close quarters? I mean, I know you two have extra-calm temperments, but I imagine you’ve discovered practices to help keep the peace. I’d be interested in your thoughts.

    1. Hey Morgan! Sorry it’s taken so long to respond. Our cell service is weak here and goes from great to “no service”. I don’t think they throttle here at Teddy Roosevelt NP because there’s no pattern and it doesn’t happen every day – probably more environmental – signals riccocheting off klinkers, maybe?

      How do we maintain harmony? As long as he stays outta my way, everything hums along nicely 😀

      Seriously though … that’s a very good question and I appreciate you bringing it up. You aren’t the first to ask us about this. I’ll probably write more on this domestic issue in the future because so many of our friends wonder about it.

      Truth is, we argue less now than we ever did – but we’ve worked in close quarters for so many years (our touring magic show and the book store) we’ve figured out what to expect from the other and what will or won’t set them off. So arguing happens less … which means that indeed we do have arguments – but not big chopping tomatoes with butcher knives kind of arguments – they’re more like wringing out laundry. That way, no one gets hurt.

      But since we started this journey, it’s rare for us to argue at all – probably because now, we talk about everything – everything. Safety is a huge ongoing concern so we speak through our plans and activities like good medical professionals will do – explaining why we’re doing something helps the other to know what to expect. This higher level of communication is fairly new to us and it’s improved our relationship. Keeping communication open prevents unpleasant surprises (where’s my stuff!) and stewing over minutia.

      In addition to more and frequent respectful speech (and perhaps because of it) we manage to get our own personal quiet time whenever we want or need it by walking Pico or going to the store … Jim’s cigar time is sacred. I figure anyone who lights a cigar prefers solitude, so I usually accept that as my personal quiet time, too. Picking up my journal sends Jim the same signal.

      Okay, I hope that explains it – probably not, but I’ll continue to give it more thought. Keep the good questions coming, Morgan!

      xoxo

      LIB – Carmen

  5. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences. As I sit behind my Dell monitor viewing these spectacular images, I lust to wander.

    Steve

      1. Lovely, enchanting, and charming — and that’s just my impressions of the photos of Jim

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