"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
September 6, 2012
Go Be Amazing Somewhere Else. I'm in a Hurry
by Hannah Bird

One of the cruel realities of having five children, a farm, a part-time job, side writing projects, being stage manager for a dance school, and managing illness is that there is never enough time. That isn’t a complaint. I love my life and all the things in it. No, it’s simply fact. I am very often out of time.

Which is why I hate Yellowstone National Park.

I have made three trips through the park in the past nine weeks. You see it’s a little-known fact that in addition to being an amazing land full of natural marvels and amazing sights, it’s also the quickest road between several western states. Although “quickest” is relative. My problem with the park is that I am trying to get through it. And that I am alone in that quest.

My children have now learned to duck down when I offer helpful tips to other drivers (“Pull over, then take pictures”). My knuckles get white. There is a permanent cramp in my ankle from the stop and go. I have rolled my eyes enough to make them come loose.

The sad fact is, not everyone should be allowed out in nature. That sounds cruel, I know. But sitting at Old Faithful one day, I watched a tourist use a $3000 camera to take a picture of a crow. Clearly some people cannot handle the heady sauce that is wildlife.

I have watched people stop directly in front of a buffalo and honk and gun their engines.

I have watched people try to seat their children on or near buffalo for pictures.

I have watched people get between a buffalo cow and her calf.

I get that buffalo look like an animal invented by Disney. They do look soft and fluffy. I imagine that effect diminishes slightly when the animal is trying to kill you. But, I can’t be sure.

On the second trip through the park, my eldest daughter and I saw a grizzly with two cubs (please see my earlier article on grizzlies to see why this does not reflect well on us). People were walking way, way too close, but I suppressed the eye-rolling until we saw one very petite woman running full speed at the bear with her camera.

Unless your camera options include “force field,” this is not a great idea. I just shook my head and maneuvered carefully past all the parked cars. There is a thin line between bystander and witness. There was no way I was going to spend the afternoon filling out witness forms.

But none of this is really the problem. The problem is that I am just trying to get through the park, buffalo, crows, bears, and tourists notwithstanding. I fully realize that for many people a trip to Yellowstone Park is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. And that is exactly why I think they should pull to the shoulder of the road so they can really savor it.

When my two youngest sisters were not quite teens,we drove them through the park. Almost as soon as we entered, there was a giant, lone buffalo standing on the road. My sisters oohed and ahhed. My husband and I sat waiting impatiently for it to move.

Shortly after that, I flew out to Washington State and stopped to see my sisters. At the time, they lived on a beautiful island in Puget Sound. As I stood on the ferry looking out, I saw something in the water. Dolphins! No way. Real, live dolphins. I was so excited. I oohed and ahhed. The locals complained because the dolphins would make the ferry late.

G.K. Chesterton said, "We are perishing for want of wonder, notfor want of wonders." I am quite certain he is right. I am also quite certain that I am glad not to be going through the park again this summer.

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About Hannah Bird

I am me. I live at my house with my husband and kids. Mostly because I have found that people get really touchy if you try to live at their house. Even after you explain that their towels are fluffier and none of the cheddar in their fridge is green.

I teach Relief Society and most of the sisters in the ward are still nice enough to come.

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