The West runs generations deep in me, like a dark vein of Wyoming coal waiting to be mined. "You know your great-grandparents
came from the East," my mother says, and I picture NewYork, New Jersey, Pennsylvania. "Where?" I ask. "Illinois," she replies.
It is their fault, these "Eastern" great-grandparents of mine who homesteaded in Wyoming when land was free for the taking. They were tired when they arrived, from months of rattling across the Plains
in a rickety wagon. Not to say they were indiscriminate or anything, but what I'd like to ask them is, "What were you thinking?" They stopped near the Montana border on a red dirt slice of barren junk
land where if you scratch the dirt it will blow away and water is just a dream down the road somewhere. And yet, and yet, if they had just traveled 20 miles more, they would have reached the emerald green river-bottom land of Sheridan, where railroad magnates and cattle ranchers from England staked their claims, setting their families up for life. But I guess I wouldn't have had the same opportunity for character development had they chosen differently, would I?
So, here I am writing about the West I love—a land of story telling—people sitting around campfires spinning tales and ranchers lying about how many cattle they own. In the West where I live, the stories are part cliché—with cowboys, rattlesnakes, sagebrush, sheepherders—and part NewWest—coal bed methane invaders, spotty cell phone service, sub-standard lattes, and the The New York Times arriving by mail two days late which is the best you can do when you live in the middle of nowhere. Thanks for stopping by for a visit—people just don't go visiting like they used to.
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