The Ranger (beta)

Fremont County's Daily Newspaper

News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.

Ranger Login

Nothing to do? Perish the thought

Jul 11, 2013 - By Betty Starks Case

This time of year, Wyoming is offering up its best

Has anyone run out of something to do this great Wyoming summer?

If you're able to get out, myriad interesting things are waiting for you. If you're not able, I hope you may enjoy by sharing experiences of those who can.

Life is full of surprises out there.

We thought we'd enjoy a simple drive to the hills and a picnic on July 4. North of Dubois we noticed a very tall pole crowned by a huge pile of sticks, four or five cubic feet in size.

A nest? We'd never seen such a big one.

In the human world, I've heard marketers speak of manufactured homes versus "stick" homes. Sounds like a bit of a put-down. Suppose the ospreys could tell us when a pile of sticks becomes a real home?

On a post higher than a telephone pole, the two big birds worked industriously at building their structure skyward that day, seemingly oblivious to the many smaller birds that went in and out of the several lower-level apartments in this huge avian complex.

We found the situation so fascinating we stayed to watch for some time. Several small nests beneath one large one. All built by birds. All living compatibly in their own space.

In our front yard, birds battle one another furiously for nesting places in the huge blue spruce. You can see why. It's a beautiful tree -- tall, protective and dense. Yet, in the sky-high dwelling in the hills, there appeared no objection at all to fellow occupants.

Was theirs some sort of symbiotic relationship?

Or were they just neighbors who live happily near one another? Like us?

Just the day before, a big truck had backed into our loved neighbors' drive to move their furniture and belongings to their home in the country. They've been looking forward to the move, remodeling, dreaming of life out there sharing their space with pheasants, deer, foxes, raccoons (this one a bit iffy) and multitudes of beautiful birds.

We didn't go outside much the morning of their move.

"We'd probably just get in the way," we said.

Or was it that lump in the throat that might give way to tears?

We'd lived close and very neighborly here for 18 years. And yes, our friends are only moving a mile or so down the road. But that's not quite the same as next door, dashing over with caring hugs when things go wrong, a helping hand when needed, a wave or a grin that reminds you, "We're so happy you're here."

Meanwhile, a Wyoming summer offers new and varied contact with family and friends.

For us, there's our school reunion -- this time, a picnic in the park. And we're not even bringing the food. Instead, it will be catered. We hope it doesn't rain and that all the old-timers can make it across the yards of grass to the chairs. (I'm kidding, folks. It just seems a long time ago.)

Then there's Rendezvous Day in The Park, with exciting products made by creative friends and visitors; the balloon rally, when I always wonder if CWC's water tank may break its tether to join the flight of the colorful balloons; our wedding anniversary -- wildly celebrated last year with the parade ride in our neighbor's little red Cooper car; and this year, the very special 50th anniversary of my brother and wife in Rock Springs.

In addition, we savor the visits we've already shared with family from Washington, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and Gillette.

But summer guests aren't always the human variety. Apparently, Brooks Lake area is hosting someone like Bearsy Dotes, the big grizzly sow I wrote of last summer when we saw her and her two cubs on their jaunt around the lake, watched her cubs standing in the water swatting at passing fish.

Soft-sided tents are now prohibited in the Brooks Lake area for the first time I can recall.

That's a pretty good sign that Bearsy Dotes and/or some of her friends are exploring the territory, maybe even claiming it.

The big grizzly commands great respect, as well she should. Yet the cuddly name I gave her created so much fun in reader response last summer, we may have to drive up to greet her again.

But only through binoculars. From the far side of the lake.

Finally, after pulling these summer experiences into the light for your observation, and because each is, to me, special in its own way, I'll share my awareness that the need to write is born of the awe I feel toward creation itself.

If we remain alert to that wonder, we won't miss Wyoming's offer of the best.

Related content: