Sometimes I’m a little miffed at the way people describe Wyoming. Words like barren, desolate, and god-forsaken have been used. I recently read a best seller where the protagonist walks through Wyoming and dismisses it with a few sentences as ugly and trashy. The author then goes on to spend pages and pages describing a well known Midwestern city, so I’m guessing we just don’t see eye to eye on what constitutes beautiful landscapes.
After my first burst of defensiveness, I realized I should be glad. If Wyoming was full of manicured parks with trees evenly spaced, bucolic ponds, and rolling lawns, multitudes would flock here. Then it wouldn’t be Wyoming. Lack of humans is one of Wyoming’s best features as far as I’m concerned. Not that I dislike humans, I happen to be one after all, but with humans come human endeavors in the form of roads, buildings, internal combustion engines and NOISE.
Noise is what I try to get away from as much as possible. Quiet is what I crave.
In the past I might have said I crave silence, but I’ve discovered there is no such thing, but a few times I’ve experienced something very close. Like the time my family and I were sleeping in the open air, not so much as a tree branch to obstruct my view of the half moon sky. I’d fallen asleep gazing at the stars, but a sound had stirred me awake. As my foggy mind cleared, I realized it was my son’s deep breathing a few yards away. It was the only sound, so it woke me up.
Another time I was out looking for arrowheads. I heard some unfamiliar, enchanting birdsong. It wasn’t loud, but it was very clear. I followed the song up the hillside to find the source. As I topped the ridge, I found myself looking down into a drainage 500 feet deep and the birdsong coming from a wide, tree shaded spot on the creek about 200 yards away. Wonderful Wyoming quiet.
So, yeah, Wyoming is barren and desolate if by that you mean 360 degrees of horizon can be seen; or you can spend a whole day and not see another person, or hear an engine; if your cell phone or iPad’s wifi doesn’t work on every square inch of land, or you have to plan ahead because if you have a problem, it might be a long time before help comes.
God bless Wyoming and keep it wild.1