I have to confess that I’ve been a bit overwhelmed since arriving at Yosemite.
First there’s the scenery:
It’s still difficult for me to manage complete sentences in its presence.
I also made the mistake of listening to the audiobook version of John Muir’s “The Yosemite” on the way here. Don’t get me wrong, it’s full of insight and a gold mine of quotey-goodness. It’s just that John Muir is the patron saint of the conservation movement, and I’m on his home turf. It’s a little bit intimidating to write anything about Yosemite after John Muir has had a go of it.
On the other hand, I’ve only been here for a month. John Muir arrived in Yosemite for the first time in 1868, lived here for the next ten years of his life, and returned many times before his death in 1914. I finally realized that if I waited for profound comprehension to come to me, I was going to be moping around for awhile.
Then I was given the assignment to lead a group of high school students around the park for a week. Suddenly I wasn’t the only one who was out of their element. They found themselves among strangers, in an immense place, with a leader who frequently got lost. (“I know where we are. Sort of.”)
And they completely embraced it. They took on every challenge, overcame every obstacle, climbed every mountain, forded every stream and we had a blast doing all of it. Over the course of the week I got to watch them transform from a random group of people who wouldn’t normally hang out together, to long-lasting friends.
So just as I was giving up on a timely epiphany, this phenomenal group of students taught me something about Yosemite that I hope to never forget:
Incredible things happen here.