The Yellowstone/Gardiner community has given me a lot. They've welcomed me with the tolerant smiles of those who've seen people come and go in this transient Park Service life but are still willing to give someone a shot if they make an effort. I appreciate that--I've lived in transient communities for a long time and know the dangers of investing too much in people who leave just when you get to know and like them. So, in an effort to make myself useful around here, I've volunteered at music festivals, baked cakes for auctions and cakewalks, bought I-don't-know-how-many raffle tickets, and supported the local boy scouts and 4-H in various ways. Also, I've volunteered to help organize the Park 2 Paradise triathalon, which occurs on the 21st of this month.
Now, I've never even been to a triathalon. I originally signed up just to be a timer for the bike portion. I figured, hey, how hard can it be to hit a stop watch every once in a while? Well, now, because of a perfect storm of events, Emily and I are in charge of organizing all the timers. Uh huh. We have a lunch meeting today to find out more details, but we're drastically short on timers and I'm starting to panic a little bit. I'm sure it'll all work out...right?!
Meanwhile, in my new community, I'll be volunteering for the Western Sustainability Exchange. This organization works with local farmers and ranchers to get their products to local markets, thus making agriculture more sustainable and thus keeping more ranches in families as open land rather than subdivisions. It's a combination of ranching values and conservation ethics, which are sometimes two seperate islands here in the West. I'm pleased to be working on the bridge. And to start setting down more permanent roots through service to my new community.