The airport, which probably qualified as an oversized ranch, was so small only three airlines serviced it. There were no jetways; instead, travelers were greeted by open sky, a soft breeze, the majestic Teton Mountains, and no cell service. The town of Jackson, with a population just under 10,000, was nestled in the valley of Jackson Hole, eight miles south. The size of the sign indicating the airport’s presence was about as large as a generously-sized agenda. No words, just the symbol of an airplane quietly pointing the way.
There were blue skies, open plains, and forest as far as the eye could see. Cars, like the intermittent lost ant, occasionally sped down the highway at a leisurely pace of 55 mph. The national elk refuge and Grand Teton National Park left scant room for any roots of civilization. It was quiet, and you could think. From Jackson to Yellowstone was 76 miles, depending on the destination within the park, but there would have hardly been enough time to soak in the splendor of the landscape, which was occasionally dotted with bison.
Each scene was a painting, as heavily-saturated colors burst forth and created a serene masterpiece for the eyes and heart. The green of the plants, the oranges of the sulfur, the incredibly deep blues of the water; they all sang with incomparable beauty. It was a place that shouldn’t exist, but miraculously does.
On a chilly, early morning, the sun softly kissed the rocks of a dry riverbed. The water flowed, sparkling and chiming, a few yards away. It was crisp and sharp, so clean that you could see the rocks beneath. If you closed your eyes and listened, the most brilliant symphony played as nature slowly, though not lazily, awakened.
Wonder is such a sensational, singular emotion, felt in solitude, but always shared. There never seem to be words to communicate the sense of beauty, joy, and peace that envelope us as we become small and grace becomes big.
And we wandered, slowly, drinking in the serenity.