|Will there be room for all of us?|
On Monday, my RAV4 will be overflowing with personalities. In addition to me and my traveling companion, Ed, there will be three other passengers, the primary characters of Yellowstone Howling:
Janey Devereaux - Janey is an average, middle-aged woman (58). Until two years ago, she lived an ordinary life as a wife and mom, working as a portrait photographer in the Roseburg, Oregon, J.C. Penney’s store. Then the Universe took away her husband and her job and sent her kids off to make their own lives. Depression, fear and anxiety have her in their grip and she doesn’t know what to make of what remains of her life. (NOTE for all you Roseburgians — there is no portrait studio in your J.C. Penney’s store.)
Stella Rainville - sometimes life gets pushed off the rails by circumstances, sometimes by our own mistakes and bad choices. Both forces conspired to create chaos in Stella’s life and at 54 and unemployed, she now considers herself a failure caught between two worlds. She knows she needs a change but has no idea what it should be.
Jesse Sanchez - until a few months ago, Jesse was an average, nerdy 14-year-old, more interested in Minecraft than the soccer his parents pushed him into. Then his sister, Amanda, died in a tragic mass shooting on the college campus where she had just begun her studies. Jesse feels guilty and thinks the only thing that will help is to see and take pictures of the places where Amanda spent her summer internship observing the reintroduced wolves in Yellowstone.
With Amanda’s field note journals in hand, Jesse talked the now unemployed Janey and Stella into taking a road trip to Yellowstone National Park. (Hint: what they find there will not be what they expect to find.)
Although they don’t take up much space, there will also be some passengers who can’t be seen but who affect everything with their presence.
Amanda Sanchez - Amanda and her love for the wolves is the dynamic force that weaves through this story. Her tragic death pulls everyone into a mystery that changes everything.
Wayne Rainville - Stella’s uncle was a Vietnam vet who battled alcohol and PTSD until he found peace in the wilderness. While he lived, he gave Stella as much of himself as he could. When he died, he left her his cabin, which is where they will call home while Stella, Janey and Jesse are on their road trip of discovery.
Wolf - there are hundreds of wolves that have lived and died in Yellowstone in the twenty years since wolves were reintroduced into the park. One of them became a “rock star” to wolf-watchers around the world. Big, barrel-chested and courageous, she was the one everyone wanted to see, until she wandered outside the park and was shot by a hunter in legal hunting season.
How all of us will fare on this trip is yet to be seen.