Friday, July 04, 2008

Friday July 4, 2008...Back from the West

I just returned from two weeks in central Wyoming. It's high plains desert country. The elevation was about 6,000 feet above sea level and there were very few trees. The low growing shrubs were best suited to sandy arid soil. The few cattle that you could see were widely scattered because there was not much food or water. It looked like 1 to 10 acres for each cow. The wind blows out there with nothing to stop it. There are few ranches and when there is one, it is usually rather large. I was surprised that it was indeed cool in the shade because of the dryness of the air. The native Wyoming people were complaining about the heat while I was quite comfortable. I guess I'm so conditioned to the humidity back home that my body cools off easily when the air is dry. Once you get acclimated to the elevation and the lack of people, the whole state opens up it's beauty to you. There are mountains off on the far horizon and you are fairly secluded from humanity. It's just you and the sky and the earth. If you were born and raised in that country, any sizable town would seem crowded. The largest city in Wyoming only has 53,000 people and there are only 500,000 people in the whole state. If you want to get away from it, then Wyoming is the place to go.

Fortunately, where my daughter lives is near the wind river and there are irrigation ditches criss-crossing the county. With irrigation, the sandy soil will grow many things. But Wyoming is far off the beaten path and transportation is costly. I grew up in Kansas City where many interstates, railroads and airways intersect, so I am used to larger metropolitan areas with many amenities taken for granted. Wyoming folks have to be a lot more self-reliant and competent.

I enjoyed the difference and the serenity, but it's always good to get back home. Here, everything is within reach and available. It's comforting. I guess I'm spoiled.

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