The first National Park ever established in the United States, Yellowstone actually sits atop the caldera of a “super volcano” that may or may not erupt.  If it ever does, it will take out most of the western states along with it.

It’s an amazing, unique place but I’m just going to write about one small facet of our visit there last summer.  We had the good fortune to stay at the hundred and ten year-old Old Faithful Inn, located just yards away from the iconic geyser that everyone lines up to see when they visit this amazing place.

Our room was about fifty yards away from the geyser and we could hear it erupt regularly throughout the night.  In fact, on our first evening there, Mr. Aubrey and I tucked the kids into bed and wandered out to the bleacher overlooking the best viewpoint for Old Faithful in the wee small hours of the morning.

It was an impulse but it ended up being a truly magical moment shared with my cherished partner in life.  I’ll never forget it.  Above us curved a dome of stars in the blackest field, unencumbered by city lights, traffic and other interference.  We spent muted moments picking out constellations we both know–finding Polaris, the North Star, or gaping at the jaw-dropping streak of white, the Milky Way painted across the midnight sky.

The air was brisk–all the more excuse for us to draw close to each other and share body warmth.  But the magic didn’t end there.  As if sensing our deep admiration and appreciation for the natural world around us, the geyser responded at 1 a.m., giving us alone a show that we will never forget.  It was an experience for all the senses.  I could see the steam rising from the mound in the near distance, I could smell the musty earthiness and feel the damp heat on my skin as the water rose from the bowels of the earth no longer able to contain it.

Nature had decided to pull out all the stops for us that night and give us a moment we’ll always remember.  I still get chills thinking about how I felt, so insignificant and yet so closely tied to the natural world around me.  I felt the connection immediately and it will not soon release me.

I must go back to this place some day.  There was so much to see and so little time to see it.  I am so thankful for our amazing National Parks service that seeks to preserve these special places for us and our descendants.  If you haven’t visited a national park recently, I urge you to get out there and see one, or many.

Since I did not want to use someone else’s photos on my blog without permission, I will link the following image, probably one of the most stunning I found and what comes the closest to what we saw.  Milky Way over Old Faithful

I’ve added some more stunning photos (via repins) on my Happy Places Pinterest Board.  Have a look!

You can see more of my Happy Places posts by clicking on the category link “The World According to Bren.”

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