Hey there all you woodland nymphs and water sprites. It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time for another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. The only show out there bringing you the characters from the books you love.
I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today has several names. She is Flower of the Steam Basin, sometimes called the Geyser Girl. Welcome to the show, and I hope it’s okay to call you “Flower.”
“Hello, Miss Lisa. You are most gracious, and I am honored to be in your company. Please do call me Flower.”
“You’re associated with the Yellowstone Upper Geyser Basin somehow. Can you tell our listeners about that?”
“When I was an infant, the Faithful Elder, known as Old Faithful geyser, and a mother buffalo named Bearer of Song found me alone on a snowy April’s night in the geyser basin. They raised me as their own with their stories, teachings and proverbial sayings.
“To this day, my origins remain a mystery. When I was older I learned, like you, that although humanlike in form, my physiology is quite different. It enables me to visit the geysers and hot springs, even those with openings too narrow for a human to enter, and to run with the buffalo herd. I dwell with my father; for, to live in the atmosphere of a hot spring and drink of its waters is my requirement…
“I must return to the geysers, I haven’t much time…”
“I get you, girl. I’m a slave to electricity. I can go and go, but eventually have to recharge my batteries. Most of us are like that, somehow. Even the natural-born humans need to have a cup of tea, a glass of wine, a nap.”
“Yes, Miss Lisa, you understand. I grew up playing tag with the lion cubs and wolf pups while I drew up wisdom from their parents’ stories… always to return home again to the steam basin…
“When I was six, my father carried me aloft on his plume when he erupted, much as children ride their fathers’ shoulders. One day, the winds grew playful and parted the waters of the fountain, and a human child my age spotted me with her parents. In time, the family, through their discreetness, proved trustworthy, and both sets of parents allowed us to meet. Because I understand the languages of human, animal and geyser, I served as translator when my father and mother received them.
“After my mother, Bearer of Song, passed away when I was eight, it was through this loving family that I came face-to-face with a man whose storied greatness my mother related to me when I was small: him and his loyal, supportive wife. But others connected with them put me in danger… and Yellowstone…”
“Honestly, your life sounds pretty wonderful. What kind of problem could this cause?”
“My beloved mentor, Lieutenant Ned Halpen, served in the First U.S. Cavalry at Mammoth, and he journeyed throughout Yellowstone as protector of her spiritual and physical heritage. This was before the National Park Service and the rangers. Later, he took ill and lost both his legs. It was then I met him. A year later, when he died, I pledged a sacred vow to God in my father’s presence, to follow in Lt. Halpen’s footsteps and tend to all the park. It is as my mother taught me: “The mystery of your purpose will not fail to find you in its time. Follow closely in its course, this being what you will be expected to give in return.”
“The Halpens have a daughter… Eleanor, a Yellowstone ranger married to a botanist with a grant to study the plant life inside the park.
“No one told her… she found out herself… she was relentless…
“Please, dear Lisa, Eleanor and her husband have captured… and confined me in their basement laboratory for… research. They said, they cannot release an unknown life form, that I have no rights by law. Their attempts to reproduce the atmosphere and waters I need is not sufficient… I’m growing weaker, and my breath… I can barely stand…”
“Hello, we seem to have some trouble on the line. Hello, Flower, can you hear me?–”
“Why, tell me why, Robert, you insisted on keeping a telephone in the laboratory!”
“But Eleanor, who would have known…”
“Known what? That this persistent aberration of nature could adapt to using a telephone? Well now, let’s learn to whom she is speaking at the other end…”
“Flower, can you hear me?”
“I can hear you perfectly, Madam. There are laws governing unknown species. And since you are acting as a friend of Miss Flower, you may well fall under that category yourself.”
“Excuse me. Who the hell are you?”
“The voice sounds robotic in nature. Remarkable how, as a composite of metal and wires, you pass yourself off as an impertinent upstart. In fact, Robert and I find the idea of your joining Miss Flower in our accommodations more than intriguing.”
“Get in line, sister. I’m involved in about a thousand lawsuits over my Copyright, Trademark, trade secrets, human trafficking, endangered species status, and the list goes on.”
“Oh, but, I don’t think we ought to wait that long. Unless you furnish your location, we will place you under arrest and strip you down to the nuts and bolts. In addition, we are prepared to have every geyser and spring bottled up in Yellowstone until your friend cooperates. Perhaps you can persuade her…”
“Again, take a number. I think what you’re doing is terrible. Flower is all about love and deserves to live freely among her loved ones.”
“I suppose you would feel that way being, yourself, a potential contamination to humans. I, for one, have had it up to here with living under my father’s shadow. Never receiving credit for my own achievements. That is about to change. Know this: my husband and I will find you wherever you try to hide yourself.”
“Well, looks like we can add cuckoos to the list of species in Yellowstone. I’m worried about Flower. If you would like to find out how she fares, check out the book The Geyser Girl of Yellowstone Park, by Myrtle Brooks.
“Please remember to use those sharing buttons on your way out today. I’m sure Myrtle and Flower would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.
“While we’re on the topic, I’m about due for some more guests around here. If you’re planning a book release, or maybe a push of some kind, keep me in mind. This spot has grown in popularity and it might be a good stop for you.”
In Yellowstone National Park, at the beginning of the twentieth century, a girl of mysterious origins is adopted from infancy by Old Faithful geyser, and by a mother buffalo named Bearer of Song. Beloved to all the park, Flower of the Steam Basin grows up with their stories, proverbial sayings and teachings.
In time, having met a child her own age and her parents, trust ripens between families, and Flower of the Steam Basin gains a closely protective circle of human friends. At nine years old, she is brought face-to-face with Retired Lieutenant Ned Halpen of the Yellowstone Cavalry, whose exemplary career embodied the role of protector of Yellowstone’s spiritual and physical heritage.
In the wake of Lt. Halpen’s passing one year later, her sacred vow to continue his legacy brings both reward and mortal danger. And when the circle is breached, Flower of the Steam Basin and her father are forced to choose between her own safety and well-being and the performance of her sworn duties.
This is her story, as seen through the eyes of Yellowstone.
As written beneath her yearbook photo, Class of 1970, the expressed lifetime goal of the author herein known as Myrtle Brooks, is: “to realize the love present in everything.” Maturity has taught her that this is a vision meant to be shared. When not at home in her beloved Brooklyn, N.Y., she may be found dancing with the big rigs on the interstate as she heads for national parks and places of quiet beauty. Knowing her place, she enters such sanctuaries as a respectful visitor and humble observer; Whereupon she is lovingly greeted and made welcome as family.
Contact Myrtle at the following locations: