There's an offer on the table for me to spend five months in Yellowstone--it could have been six but the chance to spend a week in Marquette doing some dogsitting and helping a friend is more appealing to me. The job, although not terribly desirable, would be the one I applied for in the location I applied for although I had hoped there was a chance I might be offered a better job which would have saved me the cost of room and board as well as giving me a room of my own. I think that would likely be offered the following year if I wanted to go back.
I would be at Old Faithful which would certainly give me the opportunity to get to know that area better and hike some new trails since I've only been there a few times. But other than the thermal features, it comes up very short compared to Mammoth where I've always lived in the park. No sweeping mountain views, no smell of sage, less wildlife, a lodgepole pine monoculture, and no little town a five mile hike away. But Mammoth was a home I had painfully lost long before I left and at least for now, I don't want to go home again. I'd actually have to spend a couple days there first for training and I think that would be a good amount of time to enjoy the place without constantly seeing several people who would stir regret or resentment.
I shocked another medical professional this week when she learned I was still going through life unmedicated. She said they don't see that often anymore. That's unfortunately about to change for me. Although the doctor didn't think I'd be in danger of a complete system failure if I spent the summer undrugged while a hundred miles from the nearest hospital and probably uninsured, he said if it were him he'd start taking the drug and I'm inclined to agree in hope of avoiding the need for future surgery. From what I've found on the internet, even if I lose my insurance by going (I'm still investigating that), the prescription would be less than $100 a month so I can't use that as an excuse to not go.
But between that and paying rent to keep my Duluth apartment, working in Yellowstone wouldn't be the big money saver it was in the past. I'd probably clear $1500 at best from the contract. That's much better than continuing to lose money in my present situation but much worse than I could do by staying here and actually getting off my ass and working more than thirteen hours a week. The idea of going back to Yellowstone . . . last summer . . . this winter . . . next summer . . . has been my justification for taking it easy here for so long.
Not even considering the medical and financial factors, the problem is that I'm not sure if I want to go back. Both of the people I most enjoyed talking to in the park are gone now. I'd be facing a new job and a new roommate, each of which could be fine or terrible. Of course, keeping the apartment here always gives me the last choice option of leaving anytime if I need to. Heck, I could just go and take photos for a few days then head home.
Even if I take the job, I'm not sure if I see it as one season and done to get the taste of my last horrible year there out of my mouth or as a first step to being there most of the year again. All of which amounts to recognizing that I can't predict the future, other than the fact that the number of opportunities I have left to be capable of doing something like this are dwindling with the years. I want to see those mountains and the wildlife again, and probably still have delusions of righting wrongs there, but when spending a week with a cool dog is something I know will be a better experience at this point, I have to question whether going back is worth it.