Altitude Adjustment: A Quest for Love, Home, and Meaning in by Mary Beth Baptiste

By Mary Beth Baptiste

Acutely aware that her early life is slipping via, Mary Beth Baptiste makes a decision to flee her lackluster, suburban lifestyles in coastal Massachusetts to pursue her lifelong dream of being a Rocky Mountain woodswoman. To the horror of her conventional, ethnic kin, she divorces her husband of fifteen years, dusts off her natural world biology measure, and flees to Moose, Wyoming for a role at Grand Teton nationwide Park. In those rugged mountains, unforeseen classes from nature and flora and fauna advisor her trip as she creates a brand new existence for herself. Set opposed to the dramatic backdrop and quirky tradition of Jackson gap, this superbly written memoir is a considerate, frequently funny account of a woman’s bumbling quest for objective, redemption, and love via barren region event, solitude, and offbeat human connections. 

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Tim ushers us past with no explanation. We come to another room stuffed with cupboards, tables, a refrigerator, and two upright freezers. Two thirty-something guys peer around a metal cabinet. Tim introduces them as Glen and Mark, also seasonals, tall with the trim musculature of athletes. (What is it about this place? I’ve yet to meet an average-looking guy. ) Mark’s face sports a friendly grin. “Welcome to paradise,” he says. Tim explains that while they help out with all S&RM projects, Mark and Glen are raptor biologists—red-tailed hawks, great gray owls, bald eagles, peregrine falcons.

Tim explains that while they help out with all S&RM projects, Mark and Glen are raptor biologists—red-tailed hawks, great gray owls, bald eagles, peregrine falcons. Tim opens a freezer door. “This is where we store the road kills that we use to bait the bear traps. ” Rifling through frosted plastic bags, he draws out an elk leg, a partially decomposed antelope head, a whole coyote pup, three unidentifiable songbirds, and a red-tailed hawk. The rank odor I’d noticed on entering the building is no longer a mystery.

All the nurturing that brought me there was invisible to me. But when I became a counselor, I leaped to another level. Compassion, thoughtfulness, and respect now bloom as the perennial flowers that sprout through life’s churning mud. The cost of this life change suddenly seems exorbitant. I think of my Nan as she fingers her three daily rosaries (one each for my mother, my sister, and me), my parents, ex-husband, great-aunts, all distraught over the choice I’ve made. Have I turned my back on the people who love me to come to a place without heart?

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