In the cinematic masterpiece You’ve Got Mail, the character played by Tom Hanks explains the appeal of The Godfather. A sample:
The Godfather answers all of life’s questions. What to pack for a trip? “Leave the gun, take the cannolis.” ~ character of Joe Fox, You’ve Got Mail, screenplay by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron
I’ll be so bold as to take it a wee bit further. If you can’t find your answer to life’s questions in the wisdom-packed You’ve Got Mail (or, if you prefer, The Godfather) try turning to nature.
When I learned about Pictograph Cave State Park earlier this year while researching potential activities near Billings Montana, the park was temporarily closed due to a rockslide. By the time I arrived in May (passing through on the way to Yellowstone), the park had reopened, but barely.
The short list of what me, my friends and my family are currently experiencing: cancer, a broken jaw (wired shut while it heals), divorce, more cancer, a third miscarriage, legal trouble, rebuilding after a house fire, termites, financial difficulties, unemployment… Those are just the ones talking. What more could the private ones be enduring?
Here’s where I think nature comes in, not with answers but with questions. First, we see ourselves, maybe like this:
We feel like the very ground beneath our feet has crumbled away, and we find ourselves hanging upside down over the edge of a cliff. (Metaphorically speaking.)
If that’s me, the natural next step is to ask myself, “What am I going to do now?”
Please don’t get me wrong, this isn’t meant to diminish anyone’s trouble or struggles. The point is, finding a metaphor in nature that represents without judgment or prescribed answers how we see our circumstances helps (in my opinion) process, if in no other way, by articulating. That’s all: it helps because it’s a step forward.
Finally, the rest of the park (the pictographs aren’t all that legible, and definitely raise more questions than answers, but check out that perfect picnic area):