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What of Beauty?

Yellowstone National Park

In Yellowstone
National Park

A trip to Yellowstone is reminiscent of Canto thirteen of the Inferno. (Map this!)

This last trip to Yellowstone I couldn’t help but think of Canto thirteen, where Dante describes a walk through the wood of suicides. The souls of those who took their lives are entombed for eternity in knotty and deformed trees without leaves.

Gnarled trees

Non rami schietti, ma nodosi e involti

The stench of sulphur is omnipresent and walking on the ground can be dangerous. The heat can create boiling pools barely under the surface and a misstep can boil a person alive. Brian Barrett, our EMT instructor, describes these wounds as horrifying. The skin looks like candle wax, like chicken boiled in chicken soup. Maybe if we continue our little walk past the boardwalks and if we brave the steaming hot pools we will meet Pier delle Vigne?

Boiling hot!

Thermophiles love it hot but the trees not.

But today we find these springs beautiful and fascinating, sulfurous smell not withstanding. Would men from Dante’s age agree with us? What is beautiful changes from person to person, from age to age. I don’t think there is an authoritative example of a beautiful object but one that most of us agree on is beautiful. But the mob is fickle – what is beautiful today can become horrific tomorrow. We visit these thermal features and pronounce them breathtaking and if enough of us agree they do indeed become so.

Zer Heiss! Terraces

Mammoth Hot Springs

Hot Spring Terraces

7 Responses to “What of Beauty?”

  1. Fred says:

    You all are skiing? I wish I were there!

  2. Shreesh says:

    Yes, while the car is being fixed we are taking the opportunity to ski!! Neena refused to bring the downhill skis so we are stuck doing Telemark.

  3. Fred says:

    You lucky devils!

  4. shanta auntie says:

    Beautiful pictures again! Missed them when you were in training. I don’t see much snow in the background.
    Shreesh and Neena , have you heard about the welsh woman Rosie Swale Pope (61+ yrs)who is jogging around the world carrying her belongings behind her thru cold and snow across northern europe, thru siberia and so far about 2300 miles? clips of her exp on martha.

  5. Shreesh says:

    Dear Shanta Auntie –

    We are not familiar with the welsh woman – sounds like a pretty adventurous thing to do. I hope I have that level of energy at 61+

  6. shanta auntie says:

    If you have time and desire, here is the link she is on the life exp 90 calc video.

  7. Pramod Taskar says:

    “Beauty is in the eye of beholder”. Some people will see “Deer, Man or Mountain” on the moon and get moon stuck. Some will see “Cross” in the lemon or Tortilla’s. Some people will see “Genesh” in multiple roots of raddish or observe the strange phenomenon of idol of Ganesh drinking milk by the trunk.

    When I saw “Burning Man” dancing in his firey inforno on TV, I felt awe stuck.

    Observing nature is beautiful.

    Pramod Taskar

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