It was actually something of a shock coming back home this week, going to my daily job in the city, and getting back into my routine. Being home was comforting, having my own bed to sleep in, my own couch to throw my luggage and laundry upon, my own refrigerator to raid, but going back to work just felt wrong.

I can’t really explain it. I love my work and I even made good progress on my current project this week. It wasn’t work that was wrong it was being in downtown San Francisco, where everything was even taller than the lodgepole pines I’d gotten used to but where nothing really tall has leaves. I tried inoculating myself by spending the last day of vacation in Las Vegas, if anything can get you break you of the habit of wilderness and prep you for a return to “civilization,” Vegas should be it. And unlike many people I actually like the excess of it. I love the huge swaths of neon, the architectural flamboyance, the sheer gaudiness of it all.

But it wasn’t enough.

Yellowstone has its own sense of excess. The geysers may not be choreographed to music like the fountains at Bellagio, the green of the forest may not be as pure as the glass of the MGM Grand, and the animals may not be as playful as the white Tigers at the Mirage, but there’s something wholesome and real about the things that exist not because of man but despite him. When I’m out there I don’t need God by my side.

I think I may have found one of the fundamental differences between myself and the people who make religion a part of their lives, for me it’s enough that these wonders exist, for the religious, it’s not. For them there must be something behind the curtain, these things must exist for a reason, and if there’s a reason than there must have been something, someone, that did the reasoning. It strikes me as a shallow scared view of the world, and it makes me sad that they need it.

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