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In which Hank has some thoughts from Yellowstone National Park, one of the coolest and most dangerous places on Earth.

In a weird way, this video is a response to John's about the refugee crisis. Anything that makes us confront that cliff of the unknowable that we exist upon every single second is scary, especially when I have known so much safety and security all of my life. But maybe the truly terrifying thing is, when faced with the reality that some people have fallen off that cliff...have lost everything, I often look to my own terror that the same thing could happen to me, rather than the hope that I can help rescue them from their fall, and whatever disturbance that brings to my (admittedly precious) stability is worth it.

Change is terrifying, but it is inevitable.

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Good morning John!
A couple of weeks ago Tumblr. changed how it displays reblogs and I did not like this because it was change and I was frustrated. And then last week I went to Yellowstone National Park -potentially the coolest place on earth. It was the first national park ever created and it's one of the most dangerous things on the planet. Not, like, to individuals traveling in the park, though that can be dangerous too, I mean to the whole world, really.

Part of the reason Yellowstone is so interesting is that it is a very, very big volcano. 3 times in the last 2 million years the Yellowstone super volcano has erupted, spewing out tens or even hundreds of cubic miles of debris affecting global weather patterns and laying ash down as far away as Texas. Now, this isn't gonna happen again anytime soon, but it will happen again someday, and when it happens the park will basically be gone. But the remarkable thing is 
that it happened 600,000 years ago, and as you travel the park, you drive over the rim of the caldera formed in that eruption.  And other than that, the desolation that the eruption caused is pretty much invisible.  Life just rushed back in to fill the void created by that massive event.  

The ground is a thing that doesn't move,  If you're grounded, you're like a rock. People change.  The things we make change, but the land remains the same.  And yet it doesn't.  In Yellowstone, more than anywhere, places do not stay the same.  Geysers turn on and off.  New springs eat through the ground.  As the water cools, crystals are deposited, building into giant mounds.  And the ground itself rises and falls in ripples and domes across the land as hot gas and magma surges beneath the surface. 

Everything constant is a lie, and my life continues to remind me of that.  We want stability, but we can't have it.  And that's both sad and wonderful.  Now, we apply false stability to Yellowstone.  It's most famous landmark, of course, is Old Faithful, geyser that blasts every 70 minutes or so with remarkable regularity, but Old Faithful will one day cheat on us and everyone knows that.  

Some day all of the benches and lodges we built around it will just be a semi-circle around a bunch of dry rocks.  Here's New Blue Spring, now dormant and white.  And this is Constant Geyser, so named because it never stops spurting, until it did.  But Yellowstone has broken no contract with us.  It makes no pretense of stability.  It's honest, in a way that the rest of the Earth and even life isn't.  An honesty that reminds me that the inevitability of change, though it terrifies me, it also excites me.

That incurable illness that always makes me want to know what's next; to see the future, the future where things, are not like they are today.  The future that will allow me to look back and miss what once was.  That will scrub my present day of the dinginess, of the crud, until I only remember the brilliant sparkles, and the deepest gashes.

We're all standing on that cliff, beyond which there is nothing, until there is.  And we always believe that it will be there, especially those of us that have been so rarely burned, until someday it isn't there and your life has changed; your world has changed.  And there's nothing you can do to get it back again.  

Yellowstone doesn't lie to me.  Yellowstone reminds me that even something as constant as the ground beneath my feet could just one day fly into the air and land in Texas.  And so maybe the way my reblogs look on Tumblr isn't the thing I should be worrying about.  

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.

[We've been in a really long traffic jam.  We don't know what we've been in a traffic jam for.  And when this minivan moves, we will find out.  What is it?  

Katherine:  It's nothing.

Hank:  It's a bison.  It's a bison.  There it is.  So, bye.  It was nice to meet you.]