Sherrill A Dunsmuir
The year was 1982. The young man had secured temporary work in Wyoming, and had flown east to pick up his car, and his wife, and head back across the country. The couple decided it would be nice to take a route through Yellowstone National Park, since neither had been there before. Needing to stop and rest, it was agreed they would do so at the Old Faithful geyser area. Signs indicated they were getting close to it.
They entered the information center, and inquired about when the next eruption would be. Roughly twenty minutes, they were told. The couple headed back outside. The woman, toward the viewing benches, and the young man, to the car. “Going for the camera?”, she asked. “Going to leave” was his reply. He explained to her that he was not going to wait twenty minutes to see this thing spew. He had seen it on television, so there wasn’t going to be anything new. Besides, he added, “We don’t have time for this”.
His wife, not often finding herself stunned, was. Unable to find the words to express herself, she simply turned and went back to the bench. It was now the husband’s turn to be stunned. Outraged might be more accurate. He followed her, and an animated discussion ensued.
By this time, roughly twenty minutes had gone by, and people were gathering at the viewing area. Some little sputtering sounds could be heard, and the young couple turned toward the geyser. Little by little it spit up into the air, a foot or two. Not very impressive. The young man rolled his eyes and was heading back toward the car, when the air was suddenly filled with an indescribable sound. The geyser had fully erupted, and was streaming up, two hundred feet.
It lasted almost five minutes, and then, just as suddenly, it was as if nothing had happened at all. The earth was quiet, and the crowd dispersed, searching for words to describe what they had seen.
The young couple stayed a little longer than the others, then walked slowly to the car. He was heard saying thank you to her. For insisting on making time. For opening his eyes to something he would never forget.
We’ve all been there. Not Yellowstone, perhaps, but in this place, nonetheless. We have all missed, or nearly missed out on spectacular events in our lives, because we believed we could not invest more of our time. We are busy people. I am, and I know you are, too. It’s the nature of living in the twenty first century. I would like to suggest, however, that the rewards of breaking the bonds of our structured time, are often greater than the effort we need to make.