So in a region of unpredictability it’s not a surprise to find something which has come to represent the very definition of predictability, give or take a minute. We decided to venture down to the South Western region, of the park and perhaps the most famous of all the landmarks here, The Old Faithful Geyser.
I can now understand why the Geyser has become such a firm favourite of travellers, there are many geysers along the route, some are permanently in action. But Old Faithful is about something more, anticipation, hoping and waiting.
When arriving we were told the Geyser would ‘show up’ in twenty minutes during which time we sat patiently with our cameras in hand amongst a couple of thousand other people all staring at a steaming hole in the ground seventy metres away. I passed this time with a sketch and overheard a conversation which revealed to me perhaps why the charm of the Geyser maintains such healthy viewing figures.
Many of the children around us were hot, bored and becoming quite vocal about it. There was a middle aged lady to our left sat with an older woman, she said.
“Remember when I was sat on your lap Mom and I was moaning and groaning just like that, nearly missed it cause I had to go pee so bad”
The mother just smiled, it was fleeting but I thought why would anyone come back here once they’d seen it? Then it struck me that the reason was in that simple exchange. It’s an heirloom, a ritual of tourism, just as the geyser is so reliable in its timed performance the people who come to see it can mark the passage of time in their lives with each visit. As though it has come to symbolise a reliable constant in an unpredictable world.
So when the geyser did make its appearance(fashionably late by our watch) I thought there’d be whoops and cheers galore and there was certainly a little of that but the overriding emotion seemed to be collective joyful relief, that all is well with the world when Old Faithful ‘shows up’.