The Art of Doing Nothing

It's Something to Do-Ask a Pelican

By David S. Lewis

We are at our best when we take nothing for granted, counting our blessings, even the luxury of doing nothing, appreciating all that
arrives and taking time to unambitiously contem-plate the wonder of what we might otherwise ignore while preoccupied with TV, and tedium. After a long snowy winter, warm days and the beauty of spring offer far better diversions than the indoor electronic vari-ety-cable, computer, and the incessant texting that now domin-ates the lives of children.

Now that it's spring, nature is more easily appreciated-the feel of the air after a good hard rain, the smell of pine bark baking in the sun on a warm afternoon, and it's at this time of year we vow to get out and explore nature during the months ahead, knowing it's almost
unforgivable not to.

In the Livingston, Bozeman, Big Timber, Gardiner, Three Forks areas and beyond, we are enormously blessed. Opportunities to appreciate marvels of the natural world appear almost everywhere-getting out on a trail that winds its way into the wilderness, or picnicking along the Yellowstone, Madison or Boulder. If you become extremely busy in your work, drained of the essence that otherwise animates your life, this is the way to replenish your spirit. And while the notion seems obvious, we all know that we avail ourselves all too seldom of that which lies just beyond the doorstep. As words on a page, the suggestion may not reveal its potential. Once you're out there, no words suffice.

Several places come to mind, the Twin Lakes in the Crazies, even others closer to town, such as Mallard's Rest. For greater expertise, and perhaps a tip that will direct you to undiscovered country, check out, or stop by Timber Trails in Livingston for guidance and suggestions.

Leave early and spend the whole day. Forget about everything else. But your adventure need not be ambitious. Learn to do nothing, that's
what I say. It's an underrated skill, a truth that dawned upon me recently while sitting for the better part of an afternoon watching peli-cans on the Madison, an experience most people in this country have never had, and perhaps could never appreciate, not in the concrete and asphalt laden bowels of the cities, and one requiring nothing but your presence and easy attention upon the settling of large white winged creatures on blue water that mirrors the sky and hills. A fly fisherman appeared that day, venturing out toward the birds and casting in their direction because they had gathered at the
hole behind a rock where he wanted to fish. He apologized for what might take place, driving off the birds, but they merely took flight and landed somewhat down river. They are fun loving birds, riding waves and thermals merely for the sensation, not as any means of survival as some would have you believe. And we rode the joy of that same moment. Absolutely nothing to do but sit on a river bank, take in the beauty.

Apologies for no color in this photo. Were it
possible, we would surely have obliged. You may imagine, though, the stark white of pelicans against blue green water, then deep blue sky from which straggling mavericks occasionally descend. I don't understand why lone birds spiral down to the flock an hour after the others have settled. Do they fall behind or lose their way, daydreaming perhaps? That's about as ambitious a question as needed
answering that afternoon. Then down to Norris Hot Springs for a cold draft and a warm soak in the Water of the Gods.

How's that for ambition?








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