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Hi, my name is Jim Macdonald, and I have an odd assortment of interests. In no particular order, I love Yellowstone, I am an anti-authoritarian activist and organizer, and I have a background in philosophy, having taught at the college level. My blog has a lot more links to my writing and my other Web sites. In Jim's Eclectic World, I try to give a holistic view of my many interests. Often, all three passions show themselves interweaving in the very same blog. Anyhow, I think it's a little different. But, that's me. I'm not so much out there, but taken together, I'm a little unusual.

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    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    Where is part 3 on Yellowstone and myths?

    A lot of you might be wondering when Part 3 of my series Re-mythologizing Yellowstone is (also see Part 2). Besides the topic being quite difficult to frame - not writing a mythology but suggesting ways that myths might go while maintaining a mythic sensitivity is hard stuff to do right - the real story is that I simply haven't had the time to pursue this topic, yet. Perhaps, I will be able to tomorrow, but if it doesn't happen then, it may not happen for quite awhile.

    Any day now over the next month, I'm expecting the birth of my son. He is my first child, and so this is quite a time of change. It will be important for me to write about that experience and frame it. I'm also expecting to move - something which has to be worked out in a more deliberate and serious way in the months after the baby is born. On top of that, I have a firm commitment right now to the Yellowstone Newspaper, which takes a lot of time to meet the standards where I am satisfied with it.

    I can't write, however, without giving a glimpse into what I'm thinking about the topic. One, I will never myself have the talent to construct a mythology, not for lack of imagination, but for lack of desire. If there's anything I have fervently inside of me, that the more I write, the less I want my writing to be definitive - the more I want to open the world to the voices and perspectives being forgotten. Not the willow, but the willow branch, not the mule deer, but that mule deer eating that blade of grass... Not that person, but this person who never saw Yellowstone, a kindred spirit denied by the force of our world... It's a world that embraces its temporary nature - realizing that it will pass, that it's nature is in passing, but that the places that stay the same - the Old Faithfuls - for a time, are universal in their time. The richness of the metaphor in even the most mundane... Why does Yellowstone, a creative land, often escape the wonder of children - those who are born wondering?

    What are the stories of the workers - not the rangers - what are the stories of the water vapors and what were there stories when people never imagined national parks? What is an obsidian cliff? Did it prefer to be mined or to be left alone? The preferences of beings whose preferences we cannot determine might provoke us to realize that we have been so limited in the way we view Yellowstone. It's not to say we need to get off the figure-8 road and see the backcountry; it's to say we need to cherish the limited view of Yellowstone Lake on our way in to work at the Grant Village General store, that there is an infinity of possibility and exploration without needing to go everywhere, to see and discover all the new waterfalls that no one has ever seen, but if you do, to remember something more than its height and present beauty - to see what relates with that fall, and wonder what stories there are about it (not just which survey crew visited and mapped it).

    To see that facts and history are prudish in their judgment of relevance, we need stories about what wasn't seen...

    That's what I'm getting at; I hope I can weave it more coherently into the previous essays soon. If not, perhaps, that's food for thought until I can complete the project.

    Jim Macdonald