Pandemics, extreme weather, extreme politics, violence in response to even the most petty disagreements…..is anyone else exhausted? My mindset has always been that you can endure many things because “this too shall pass.” I now recognize that likely the majority of these situations will be with us for years to come.
So how do we ground ourselves? My Insight Timer is a godsend in helping me focus to meditate and pray. The Timer opens with a quote of the day. One day this week the quote was: “I meditate so my mind doesn’t complicate my life.” That struck home! Meditation helps me clear the Brain Clutter I accumulate! For me, this practice is essential.
My other necessity is getting out in nature. This week Terry and I were at long last able to drive the Beartooth Pass, a trip that was highly recommended to us from the time we arrived last summer.
The Beartooth Highway is an All-American Road on a section of U.S. Route 212 in Montana and Wyoming between Red Lodge and the Northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park. It has been called “the most beautiful drive in America” by late CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt. Because of heavy snowfall at the top, the pass is usually open each year only from mid-May through mid-October, weather conditions permitting.
When it was supposed to close on a mid-October Monday last fall, snow forced them to close it early. Terry and I had planned to drive it the Saturday before they were scheduled to close it so we missed that opportunity. We awaited the reopening in May only to have it close soon after it opened, once again due to snow. We were elated this week to finally make this trip.
When driving east to west, the highest parts of the Beartooth Highway level off into a wide plateau near the top of the pass, then descend to the junction with Wyoming Highway 296 (Chief Joseph Scenic Byway) near Cooke City, the northeast gateway to Yellowstone National Park. On the way one passes numerous lakes typical of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area which borders the highway along much of its route.
Many have enjoyed this drive since the pass was opened in June 1936. But its history, of course, predates that. In August 1872, the pass was crossed by Civil War General Philip Sheridan and 120 men returning from an inspection tour of Yellowstone National Park. Rather than take the long detour down the Clarks Fork Yellowstone River to return to Billings, Sheridan took the advice of an old hunter named Shuki Greer who claimed intimate knowledge of the Beartooth Mountains. When the road was opened in 1936, it essentially followed Sheridan’s route over the pass.
May we recognize the necessity of making the most of opportunities to renew ourselves in what can be a soul-wearying time.
Hope’s Café Bonus: