#tbt Bones

My boyfriend and I were at Yellowstone maybe a year, maybe two, after a massive forest fire swept through the park. We hiked through ranks of singed trees. It was already autumn, but these were not autumnal trees. They were dead. It was sad. We had been living out of a van for months. I did not sleep in an actual structure with an actual roof for months (well, no, we did splurge for one night on a cheap motel room in Moab. The kind where you pull your vehicle right up to your own door. A motor lodge. I took a lengthy luxurious hot shower, put on pajamas, and sat on the bed, drinking an ice-cold beer and watching cartoons. It was heaven. I never wanted to leave that dump.) We roughed it for months, and we really didn’t have any money for anything. We would wash our clothes in a bucket and hang them over the bumper and the bike rack. We’d wake up in the morning and the clothes would be frozen, bent at the spot they were hung, so you’d have to warm the jeans up out of the boomerang shape they were in. I was not doing well. What else is new. I had no idea at this point that in just a couple of months I’d say “fuck ALL of this – my relationship, my whole damn life” and move to Chicago carrying just a suitcase of clothes. It sounds like it’s made up. Within two weeks of being in Chicago I met M. Window-Boy. I couldn’t have even imagined such a future. It’s hard to think of a time when I did not know him. And I was juuuust about to meet him when the picture was taken. In the meantime, I was in the endless present. I had no address and was busy peeling my frozen jeans off the bumper and wishing I was in a better mood to basically enjoy the scenery. We hiked through Yellowstone and watched a stand off between a wounded deer and a hungry coyote. It was wild. We stood back and watched the whole thing. The deer actually stood up for itself and stomped its front legs at the coyote, aggressively, and the coyote actually retreated. The vistas were phenomenal, although the burnt trees were eerie and sad. On a wide open yellow hill, I saw some bleached antlers and bones and wandered off to look at it. My boyfriend took the picture. It’s good to have evidence because honestly I don’t remember much of our time off the grid. I was surrounded by dead trees, staring at these dead bones … thinking I would never leave the present. I would be stuck driving and driving up, down, over, around, rarely speaking to each other, wandering into roadside bars to use the pay phone, sleeping in our cramped quarters in the van, counting up our change to buy food, far far away from the world and everyone who knew me. When I think of those months I hear the windy silence. It’s wild to think just how much can happen in such a short amount of time.

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