“To wander is to be alive.”
― Roman Payne
March was a month of wandering. Flagstaff, Phoenix, the Grand Canyon, the Needles District of Canyonlands, Goblin Valley, Capitol Reef, Antelope Island, Lava Hot Springs…. with Fred and cats Chico and Luna, we wandered over parts of the Southwest, hiking, visiting friends and learning to enjoy a vagabond sort of existence together.
For the past 30 days, home has been wherever we are. I need less to feel at home—a few creature comforts like a warm place to sleep, morning tea, and a view. I get up and out early, dress in down and fleece, gloves and hat, and sit to enjoy the morning light on the red rocks. I don’t do that back in Montana—there I sit in front of a fire, computer on my lap. In changing my surroundings, I change my behavior. In changing my behavior, I change my thoughts. In changing my thoughts, I change my being.
It’s sort of a Zen thing. Zen Buddhism attempts to cultivate ‘beginner’s mind’. Shunryu Suzuki describes ‘the beginner’s mind’: ‘In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few’. My goal in traveling is only realized when I return home. I’ve lost any sense of comfort of ‘expertness’—that feeling of ‘been there/done that’. Electric Peak becomes a new mountain out my window. I find renewed joy in the landscape of Yellowstone’s Northern Range. I look for bison and pronghorn, mule deer and cottontail rabbits with renewed enthusiasm.
And, when I return home, I’m happy. Happy to be here, happy to see Yellowstone, once again, with new eyes, with beginner’s eyes.
“The best part of traveling is finding yourself.”
― Ken Poirot