Budget for Amazement

It’s famous. There is a platform with three rows of bleachers in a U shape around it. Yellowstone National Park is famous for geysers, and this is the only famous geyser there.

Old Faithful. It goes off at a regular, predictable time. It erupts frequently too–about every hour and a half.

Geysers are amazing. Even the little ones who only spurt a foot or two are fascinating. Where do they come from? What is happening below the surface?

They built the hotels right next to old Faithful. The architecture is completely original and magical.

old faithfull inn

You can step right outside the doors to walk to see Old Faithful erupt more than 100 ft. into the air. Old Faithful does his thing on the regular, and it can last up to five minutes. And wait a little while, and it will do it again.

This strikes me as very American. As American as Red Delicious apples and semi trucks. Each of these are amazing recurring miracles. So reliable and practical.

There are other kinds of apples than red delicious. And there are one-of-a-kind products that don’t fit into a semi truck.

And, as I learned too late, there are geysers that go higher and last longer–MUCH longer–than old Faithful.

My favorite, which I’ve seen on both trips to the park, is Castle. It goes off in a 90-minute window of time…so you have to wait for it. But when it goes, it blows water for more than 20 minutes and gives off clouds of steam for an hour more. I love it!

I heard of one, which I haven’t seen yet, that sprays in a different shape, and lasts for an hour! It has an hour and a half window. I think it would be worth the wait.

But do you see? I am only talking about the ones who have been mapped. So many of them have not been mapped. We saw some of them as we drove and walked. It was mystical to walk in the woods and see steam hissing up from the ground.

If I had taken the time, I could have explored that region. I don’t think I could have finished seeing the sights that were mapped if I had taken a month. And the unmapped sights were even more numerous.

My tiny vacation was my budget for amazement. We went around to all the sights we could find, dragging ourselves onward even when we were worn out to drink in the magic.

It is important to escape from the demands of structure of daily life. To go and wait on big magic. Thank you, Old Faithful, for being so reliably, industriously magical.

And especially for reminding me that there are even bigger sights to see if I will let myself wait.

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