After a four-day trip to Yellowstone National Park, we are back with a stack of pictures, a tonne of memories and some exhaustion. Part of a 10-member group, we stayed at a mansion that overlooked misty mountains and rows of pine trees. We began our days driving for hours from Big Sky Resort in Montana to Yellowstone National Park; and ended them sitting submerged neck down in a hot tub under a full-moon sky. At the Park, we drove by a herd of bisons, and a sleuth of mama bear and her two cubs. The geysers enveloped us with steam, and the clouds cracked open to let powdery rain coat our jackets and hair. On one side, the Yellowstone Lake spread like a polished sheet of glass, on the other, the Old Faithful rose like a fountain on steroids. We walked by a field of fallen trees, and reached the Bunsen Peak, only to feel insignificantly small among the massive mountains. So one day, we drove to the top of one of them. Capped with snow and riddled with naked trees, with every mile up, the colors drained to finally present a black and white view. It was time to say goodbye. And we did, soaking in the red, yellow and white strokes of the canyons. A beautiful canvas created by years of erosion; a canvas that is, and would always be, a work in progress. Except for in our minds, where it would gain permanence. Until the next visit.
In the long hours inside the flight, I read the intense but insanely tragic love story of Anthony and Gloria. Between looking outside at the foam-like clouds, and munching on packets of pretzels, I devoured on the pages of one of F Scott Fitzgerald’s best works, The Beautiful and Damned. While waiting at the gates before boarding, I feverishly turned the pages; the faster I read, the faster they fell in love. As my flight took off, they entered their first year of marriage with parties, booze, and frolic. At 33,000 feet above ground, refreshments were served. A person at the neighboring seat accidentally poured a cup of coke on my leggings. Incidentally, there seemed to grow a large dent in Anthony and Gloria’s relationship. Fights, lack of money, a one-year separation, alcoholism. And then came the biggest wrecking ball of all, an illicit affair. At this point, my husband and I realized that we had missed our connecting flight. Back home, after multiple gasps, sighs, and a few tears, I turned the last page of the book, in the twilight of Thursday. I recalled a certain line by Maury (Anthony’s friend) that befitted the moon that now rose like a shiny pendant in the dark blue sky. He had said, “I shall go on shining as a brilliantly meaningless figure in a meaningless world.”
After the four-day buzz of travel, we get a two-day rest at home (before hopping on to a plane again). It’s exciting to see new vistas unfold, to meet with people who speak different languages, and to observe the topography of a city change in a few hundred miles. The constant adrenaline rush and the thirst to know more, to see more, follows us like a shadow, as we taste a new dish, step into a new gallery or watch the sun set in a different State. We come back home with a handful of experiences in our diaries, and some ‘miles’ in our cards. And we are greeted by the familiar softness of the throw on the couch, that painting of red tree on the wall, and the scent that sticks to everything in every room. We are home. And in here, we find a deep-seated peace, more like a pat on a head and a soft whisper that says, ‘All is well’.