Poetry and other shorter writings by Alice Eckles, author of A Phrase Book for Spiritual Emergencies: Essays & The Literature Preferred by Wild Boar, a novel (published 2/7/15 by Dancing Bee Press) see www.alice-eckles.com
Friday, August 31, 2012
Yellowstone National Park, from my teenage diary
This is our third day on the road heading for Wyoming. I
meant to start writing in this thing a long time ago but I only this morning
Well contrary to Julie's pessimistic predictions I've had a
great time just driving around trying to get there. I love riding in a car
looking out the window. Most people would rather go by plane - not me, maybe
it's natures way of keeping us from going broke.
I remember the excitement I felt the first day we started
out of Fort Scott. It seems meaningful to me to be able to look out the window
and see that we are actually moving and to know it's almost certain we'll meet
our destiny, since it never seems to be that way in my life, I'm not getting
anywhere and if I am I don't know where.
Yesterday we arrived in Denver, interesting place but I
wouldn't want to live there. We stayed at the Pig and Whistle Motel. Well
wouldn't anyone have doubts about staying in a place called Pg and whistle? And
I was right it looked as funny as it sounded. More than several rows of pink
(how appropriate I thought) and ague cottages. Ours was # 5. Dad gave Beth and
me the keys and told us to unlock it but we ran straight past it and went to
check out the pool. Wow! This is cool; it's just like in the picture! And it
was cool too, in fact it was freezing. The father away we get from home the
cooler it gets, luckily for me since I have only two pairs of shorts. Then we
went back and opened our cottage. Hey, this isn't so bad I thought standing in
the door way seeing that the bed spreads were cute and they matched, separate
overhead lights for each bed, Fiddle Free Color TV, a sink, ah and the other
bedroom was nice to, but when I discovered the bathroom the doubts returned.
The toilet seat was covered with pictures of nude women and right next to the
shower was an awkward looking bottle opener… both interpreted by me as a
suggestion of sleaziness. I'll have to find some Pig and Whistle stationary and
We went to the Denver museum. I thought it was very
interesting and I wished I could have looked longer but Beth kept whispering in
my ear saying how boring it was and every time I tried to look at something
she'd stand in front of me and start talking. So we kept tripping over each
other. I wish I could find someone with my same interests.
I slept well last night - the earplugs worked. I could
barely hear my grandmother snoring. I grinning with pleasure all night knowing
those loud snorts must be shaking the whole room. Oh it was a beautiful
morning! So cool moist and refreshing. It's 9:27 and it's still beautiful! It's
raining now, we must be getting closer, the land its getting bumpy. 6 miles
till Wyoming. Neat! All the sudden there are trees all over a minute ago there
weren’t any in sight. Now there are all these big hunky rocky things popping
out from under the earth's crust. Oh I wish…
This is beautiful, I 'm too excited to write now see you
Excuse me I know this is a bad stopping place but I better
try to grab some sleep now before heavy breathing turns to an uproar of snorts
Today is tomorrow. I've decided that it is impossible to
catch up on writing. I didn't write at Jackson Hole.
SO I'll tell it how it is now. I'm in a sleazy cabin amongst
a colony of identical looking cabins. I'm not very happy because I just had a
fight with Margaret. Earlier today I had a lot of fun. I won't write about it
now though because it would sound stale. But I will say this, so far I've seen:
a ground squirrel, marmot, elk, mule deer, snow shoe rabbit, barlery weasels,
hedgehog, unusale blue birds, and moose.
Today is the 28th of July. It's ten till eleven. Why must my
days always end on sour notes? Seems like I always have to have a fight with
Margaret before I go to bed. Now days it's everything but impossible to get
along with her. How would you feel if there was someone you really admired,
someone you sometimes envied, you always thought, " I wish I could make
her feel proud of me" and you found out they aren't even happy? Stupid,
disappointed, helpless, like someone told you there is no such thing as heaven.
I'm talking about Margaret. She's mixed up. I wish I could help her, I wish I
could be her friend. I don't want to fail in my own family. My first chance for
success and the game looks like it's over. Do the bad guys win again? Am I a
dud or what? I never talked till I was three - even then… even now…
We had great fun at the waterfall this morning g though. I
love moist weather. There were ferns growing everywhere. For a while it was
heaven while we sat on stones in the stream with our jeans knee high dangling
our feet in icy rapids, and breathing in the "ocean spray" which
soothed my throat and nostrils, that were used to the dry crackling breathe
that was to be breathed on top of the mountain. We stayed up there a long time
because it was a long way back up. On the way up I decided the trail was too
long and that I could just as easily climb straight up. It didn't work. I
managed not to roll off the cliff, much to my relief.
This is the first time I even tried to keep a journal. I
never realized it was so hard to tell your journal everything, especially if
you are tired as I am. I really do have a lot more to say. If only you knew
what you were missing. I hope my plants are all right. I bought a post card to
send Julie and part of her birthday present too. I miss her. I need to talk to
her about something my "journal should never know.
I'm drifting off; these are my last delirious words. Sleep
be with me and thank you God for everything, nighty night.
Today was a good day, not a great day if you know what I
mean. Nothing really big happened but all the little things went right. My hair
looked fine without aid from electrical appliances. I wore a big flannel shirt
of Margaret's and for once felt like I looked o.k. I wondered if I would have
felt the same way with Julie standing next to me. I seemed to say and do most
of the right things; no one got mad at me. It's a good feeling.
It's hard being 15. Every once and a while as I do say or
think something childish, it hits me like a brick: I'm 15, I'm supposed to have
it all together by now. I'm scared of going to high school, what if I'm not
mentally old enough? Maybe I should be real independent like Marg.
I had a dream the night before tonight. I dreamed that my
hair grew long and lush like Margaret's, but when I went swimming it was all
washed away all except my own natural haircut. It's 11:00 - Goodnight.
Today is Thursday 12:30, and we are on our way back home.
Right now we are almost in Denver. I haven't written in a long time. Yesterday
we left Yellowstone.We drove till
ten at night. Around 3:00 we lost Mamal and when they finally caught up, they
had a hitchhiker with them. I knew it was a hitchhiker because it was the same
guy Margaret and me wanted to pick up. We were bored and he looked harmless
enough. And he was. It seemed they had had a blow out and this guy helped them
so they gave him a ride. Mostly he just smiled and grinning a lot. This is al
the information they managed to get out of him and some of it is just our own
conclusions: He goes to smart school, comes from good family, was going to
visit a friend, his name is Hans (He refused to tell us what became of Gretel),
and he wasn't good looking or ugly.
The reason we drove until 10:00 is because dad thought is
was Thursday and he wanted to get home on time. Dumb.
The day before, when we were still in Yellowstone we went
horseback riding up the mountain. We were all sitting on logs waiting for the
horses to come in teasing each other and acting dumb. The horses came in and
the old riders got off they looked funny smiling and walking around bow legged.
Then the new horses were brought out and these men who seemed to be in charge
started assigning people to horses and suddenly I didn't feel so fearless. I thought;
what am I doing here? I don't know how to drive a horse. Gad! Look at the horse
Beth got, he looks scary. His name is washboard. Oh, I see the one I want he's
got a vanilla blond mane and tail and the rest of him is a color I think they
call Mauve. " The girl in the green jacket" That's me. He motioned me
over to Pumpkin, the horse I had already picked for mine. But she didn't look
so big from far away. He assisted me to my horse and asked me where I was from.
Kansas I answered. He grunted. I noticed that he asked everyone the same thing
and grunted - not getting terribly excited over anyone's answer. When everyone
was saddled we got a talk on how to act on our horse. I listened closely
trembling in my saddle but trying to hold it back because I've heard that if a
horse senses your fear he'll give you trouble. I was also nervous because daddy
kept snapping pictures. I hate having my picture taken but I tried to pretend
it wasn't me he was pointing the camera at. "O.k. let's hit the trail,
single file." I rode in back of a sweet little eight-year-old girl and in
front of a friendly but stupid lady called Linda. By the time we were well into
the path I was really getting to enjoy it and had learned to trust my horse. It
was really really scary when we started toward the edge of the cliff, it was
beautiful though. It was then I started thinking strange things. Well I was
trotting along when I started thinking and I started wondering what the horse
was thinking. I thought he's thinking, "Will that dumb girl ever let go of
the reins?" Doesn't that stupid girl think I know where I'm going by now?
She's scared, I can tell. I'm going to get her" Then he jumps off the
cliff laughing all the way down. No, no my pumpkin wouldn't do that. I like
this. We rode for two hours. I must have got the hang of it because my rear end
didn't hurt; the only thing that hurt was my leg. It got kicked. My horse
started rubbing it's head on another horse's bottom and that horse turned
around and kicked me. It didn't hurt much, I wondered why. I looked at it and
it had swollen up about an inch. - That's probably why.
Today we stopped at Wards to buy a tire. I bought a fall
outfit. I like it. It would look better on someone else.
I want to stop and listen to the radio. Later o.k.