Sky Ranch

Approaching the Tetons
   A place of tremendous appeal. The mountains rise like high cavalry against the flatness of the plains below. Six triangular titans of the west, slate-jacketed and crowned in white. They almost pierce heaven with the boldness of their verticality. Below their boundaries, down three small back roads is the Sky Ranch, my temporary residence. Frankie lives here among the Park Staff ("Parkies"), working a seasonal post with the service.

   I'd had a moment today where I felt the weary familiarity of the road and its beauty. I had felt through-and-through, jaded almost, with the splendor of the natural world. How perfect is this place for alleviating such a feeling. Under the mountains I can see it was only the feeling of veiled loneliness. Amazing, the forms it can take, how powerful it can be. Now, here, I am among the company of real friends after so long, and it has thrown many of those shadows away.

   The bike had nearly toppled over on the way in, catching its wheels in the gravel pits along the road. Riding off road on a street bike is rarely fun. I stopped on the way in to watch a Sandhill Crane (my first) and it's awkwardly-new fledgling.

   Frankie and I sat on the front porch with a couple of IPAs, trading histories and admiring the land. A deep howling chorus suddenly poured from the hills, growing thicker as more voices joined. These were wolves, I knew suddenly, true wolves, and they were singing. I could hardly believe it, having always wanted to hear the music of wolves in the night.

   On and on they went. We ran to town for a late dinner and one more beer. The wolves were there when we returned, still pouring their song into the dark. I sat captivated, letting it die into nothing before finally getting off to bed.

Frankie makes some life-saving steaks

Front Porch Pine
The meadow

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