It was better than I ever imagined.
When I was in 8th grade, I remember hearing news stories on TV and learning about Yellowstone National Park. It sounded like the most amazing place on earth, but I was sad. This was also the year that Yellowstone was burning. I was so saddened to hear about the thousands of acres of earth and life scorched. I cried for the animals who died and were injured. I just could not understand why God would let something so wonderful be destroyed. I could not understand, so I made my father promise me that he would take me one day. I had to see for myself what had happened.
Many years went by. I traveled across the country and to some foreign countries, and though I had not made it to Yellowstone, it was always close to my heart, and I knew the day would come when I would look over that magnificent landscape.
That day came on a beautiful afternoon in May 2007. My parents, my husband and I had spent 3 days in Grand Teton NP, but the time had come to go to Yellowstone. The anticipation had my heart beating wildly and a smile the size of the Grand Canyon spread wide across my face.
We entered the park from the west entrance, and as soon as we crossed park boundaries, tears began streaming down my face. I could not believe I was finally there ... my dad was fullfiling his promise to me. I was in Yellowstone.
As we drove into the park, I began to see the scars of the fires I had read about so many years ago. It was hard to believe that the marks were still prevelant. I had heard it would take hundreds of years and years for the forest to recover, but nothing had prepared me for this - in a good way. Growing beneath the scarred remains of ancient trees was the new forest, growing strong and vibrant.
Over the next 5 days, my family and I would spend time exploring the many treasures both on and off the Yellowstone beaten path. It is the most amazing, awe inspiring, magnificent place on this earth. And as I remember my time in the park, I remember being inspired by the tenacity and strength of the park. If Yellowstone could make it, so could I ... whatever God through at me, like the forest, it would make me stronger.
As we were driving towards the west entrance on our final day in Yellowstone, tears once again began streaming down my face. I knew that I would be back one day. A small shower had fell from the sky, but the sun was beginning to shine. I was looking in the side mirror and screamed "Daddy pull over!" I had my sign from God. It was the most beautiful rainbow across the river. It was the perfect ending to the perfect trip, and we stood there until the rainbown faded away.
In all its glory and strength, Yellowstone was better than I ever imagined.