We just returned from a trip to Yellowstone. Something about the national parks grabs me down to my core. Makes me want to take a long road trip and visit every one. Makes we want to write thank you letters in time to John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt and the thousands of unsung Americans who helped set up our national parks and keep them going today. Something about the wild opens up my head for the work of writing when I return home.

I had finished up my first set of packets before I left and sent off a manuscript to my new agent, so my head was clear for a new adventure and new ideas. Only one road is open during winter in the park, but we saw more wildlife than I could have believed. Bison covered the land, such a change from the days of slaughter. Elk, coyote, and the most intriguing – the wolves. March is Wolf Watch month in the park. Teams of biologists follow each pack from dawn to dusk, monitoring their activities. A pack of visitors make it a yearly ritual to come follow along – wolf groupies. Sunday we joined them, standing on a hillside, looking through spotting scopes at one pack’s bison kill – the ravens flying overhead, the lone black wolf skulking toward the huge rock formation, waiting until the pack of which he is not a part, are napping in the sunshine.

I am grateful that I am part of a pack of writers here in Spokane and at our amazing Hamline program. I am grateful that we still have wild lands to visit, to remind us that we humans are only a small part of this great planet. Something about this trip will weave into my writing. That I know. But even more I know that getting outside, keeps me balanced for the inside work of putting words together every day.