Saturday, August 16, 2014

DAY OFF FROM THE CRETACEOUS: A moment in Choteau to experience amenities

DAY OFF FROM THE CRETACEOUS 1. The small city of Choteau provides the amenities that makes life comfortable! Hot showers, laundry machines, bars, restaurants, and yes--tires of all sizes! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for a shift in the way of BEING--departing the unrestrained vastness of the Montana badlands and entering the tight grid of a small western American city. How different is our dance once we are walking on pavement and our vision is obstructed by buildings and trees? When we interact with one another as tourists and not fossil hunters?
DAY OFF FROM THE CRETACEOUS 2. Sunrise over Camp Makela on a Friday, which is the day off from fossil hunting! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Many of life's pleasures dwells in opposition of experience. Out at Camp Makela, we are freed from daily grooming. Who needs clean clothes or showers when from the time you complete your breakfast to the time you sleep you are immersed in the Cretaceous sediments, nose, elbows, knees, and feet (not to mention your flank when falling or resting to eat lunch)? If not walking, sitting, or kneeling on mudstone and limestone, it is blowing about your ears, settling on your scalp and in your eyes and nose. You might even eat some of it inadvertently.
DAY OFF FROM THE CRETACEOUS 3. A leisurely breakfast is tradition on the day off from the Cretaceous. Here it is French toast crafted by Emmy Hill and consumed by dinosaur diggers. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
However, driving to the small town of Choteau along a 20-mile dirt road means hot showers at a local hotel (bring your own towel and soap) for five dollars and doing laundry at a 24-hour laundry mat across from the Wagon Wheel bar. It means a hot yummy lunch, a stroll along the streets window shopping, and getting a delicious coffee at a cafe-gift store. These experiences, which may seem so ordinary to those of you reading this blog entry, are elevating moments to those of us who have been out in the Cretaceous badlands for days, not missing "civilization," but appreciating a city's amenities all the more because of having done without them.
DAY OFF FROM THE CRETACEOUS 4. Econowash, a 24-hour-coin operated laundry, allows the likes of Camp Makela paleontologists and volunteers to load their Cretaceous sediment encrusted clothes into washers and leave for lunch. No worries, no one will take your stuff! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
DAY OFF FROM THE CRETACEOUS 5. The Wagon Wheel, a bar situated across from the Econowash, is accommodating to visitors whose clothes are on dry-cycle. I was introduced to "red beer"! Tomato juice poured into a light watery beer and supposedly consumed for "health." Notice the paleontologist on the far left bar stool? (photo by Hallelujah Truth) 
Choteau is accommodating to all who enter its dominion. A stop at the visitor's center to use the facilities engages you with hostesses asking you to sign the guest book. These well-coiffed ladies ask you if you are headed to Yellowstone National Park or some other Montana natural wonder. They nod their heads when you answer that you are affiliated with research at Egg Mountain--it's well documented in their local museum (the subject of a future blog)!
DAY OFF FROM THE CRETACEOUS 6. (photo by Hallelujah Truth) 

It is with a full heart that I write about my opportunity to experience these multiple ways of BEING provided by the fieldwork of my dear paleontologist husband, Chiboogamoo (aka Tony Martin). How thrilling it is to shift roles! To go from being a dirt encrusted fossil hunter in the Two Medicine Formation to a curious tourist in Choteau with money in her pocket to spend! To dip my toe in the river of time, sensing the deep and infinite and the contrast of superficial and momentary: the badlands versus the town.
DAY OFF FROM THE CRETACEOUS 7. Preparing for an evening celebration at Camp Makela to bid Ashley and Lee Hall farewell, Chiboogamoo and I purchased firewood to build an evening of light and magic in the middle of the Cretaceous! (photo by Hallelujah Truth) 
DAY OFF FROM THE CRETACEOUS 8.  The sun sets late over Camp Makela. Past 9:00pm, it is still light, but for those working and traveling the next day, we needed to start our fire before darkness. We would be up early the following day. In case you are interested, I am seated in the middle of this photo. (photo by Chiboogamoo)
Thank you so much my darling Chiboogamoo for including me in this western adventure, allowing to collaborate with you, teaching me about the Cretaceous trace fossils in Montana's badlands, playing with images, ideas, and words. You are such an inspiration!
DAY OFF FROM THE CRETACEOUS 9. Paleontologist husband, Chiboogamoo, provides scale for this large American flag in Choteau! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me. What do you have to share about travel, the shift in the way of BEING? To see more wonderful photos of Choteau in a collaborative blog entry about the "Paleontologist's Day Off" that Chiboogamoo and I posted before my arrival, go here.
DAY OFF FROM THE CRETACEOUS 10. Sun setting on Camp Makela. (photo by Hallelujah Truth) 
DAY OFF FROM THE CRETACEOUS 11. I'm so thankful for the expanse of this beautiful Earth, the generosity of others (including my husband), and the multiple ways of Being offered us! (photo by Chiboogamoo) 

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