As the season winds down here in Yellowstone, the overall mood among the staff is uncertainty. Uncertainty about where to go next, uncertainty about friendships, uncertainty about what to do with the remaining weeks in this awesome place. Meal time conversations are riddled with discussions about who has applied for which positions where, and whether they’ll return next year – or ever do seasonal work again. Plans are made to get in that last “bucket list” hike before it’s time to go. Summer love, doomed from the start, putters out as the threat of separation looms. Everyday tears are shed for a departing friend that must return to school – often abroad. Phone numbers and hugs are exchanged, promises made, and goodbyes lingered over as the van waits outside for the trip to the airport.
The kids aren’t the only ones uncertain. I feel it to. Will I do this again? Where will I go when I leave here and how long will I stay? Did I get everything out of Yellowstone that I’d hoped? Will I regret not hiking more? Will I see a fox or a bear before I leave?
I think it is the uncertainty that fuels me. It spurs the planning and the research and the learning and opens my mind to endless possibilities. Sure, there have been some places along the way this summer that I don’t have to revisit, but as a general rule, I never say “never.” Will I work in a National Park again – maybe. Will I return to Yellowstone – maybe. Will I spend the next few weeks, or even months, figuring out what I’ll be doing for the subsequent weeks and months – most definitely. The alternative is stagnation. The alternative is missing out on the opportunities to travel and visit friends, explore new places, drop everything and spend a weekend with my son or other family.
The opposite of uncertainty.