10 May 2005


Flat Land

Once in Wyoming I stood outside in a flat field under an intricate cloudscape of roiling gray and black. In that brief moment I instantly knew the meaning of the phrases "big sky country," and "wide open spaces" as I had never understood them before. If I had been alone I would have been terrified of that wildness. I tasted a hint of desperation and fear then, as though I might be plucked from the surface of the earth at any time, like a rabbit seized by a hawk. In later years that vulnerability has been a source of wonder.

I remember the first time we went to Wyoming, straight from Michigan where I always felt protected by those huge old maples and oaks. And you and I both stood outside in Laramie, and I know I wanted to run all the way back home—instead, we just went back inside our friend's apt. It really did feel prehistoric, pteradactyl, or something. I guess we got used to the West, however, since we never did go back home to stay.
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