I spent the last four days nestled in a little nook along Clear Creek on the eastern slope of Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains. Oh how my soul missed those mountains.
It felt like old home week for me. The earthy smell of a dewy forest floor, the tang of pine, the crisp air stinging my cheeks, the twittering of chickadees… it was a feast for the senses. Wildflowers carpeted the hills, the meadows afire with the likes of arnica, lupine and prairie smoke yet to bloom, set against the jaw-dropping beauty of granite peaks like Loaf Mountain and Big Horn Peak.
Just looking at this stunning, familiar landscape made my heart sing with happiness.
Most of my time was dedicated to taking photos of women learning new outdoor skills. But when I thought no one would miss me, I would sneak away to find a mountain view to photograph or just a quiet spot in the woods to stop and be. The soft cushion of pine needles under my feet and the occasional chattering of a red squirrel provided a quiet musical accompaniment to my thoughts and musings.
I never realized how much I truly missed living and playing here until now. Outdoor Guy and I started our lives together on the western slope of these mountains. Together, we fished the high country and hunted the lowlands. We talked about our present and dreamed of our future.
When it was time to pack up camp, I drug my feet coming home. I didn’t want to break the spell this place had woven around me once again. But I had made my choice long ago, and it was time to leave this place behind me.
Twenty-four hours later, it was back to Goshen County, where wide open spaces and endless views give my soul room to breathe. A place where tractors and balers churn across the hillside A land of the heady smell of fresh-cut hay and cow manure. These plains of my childhood are as comfortable as an old pair of shoes. Antelope and hawks, “minor fauna” like Woodhouse toads, sagebrush lizards, bull frogs and opossum to encounter. New friends that welcomed us here with open hearts and treat us like family. This place is home, too.
“You can’t ride two horses with one ass, Sugar Bean.”
As Wyokiddo and I sped toward our house with the bright red doors, I contemplated the conflicting emotions inside me.
We live in world where we are forced to make dozens of choices daily. We are expected to choose a course of action and stay on our side of the that line in the sand. Paper or plastic. Organic or conventional. City or country. Foreign or domestic. Red or blue. Society demands strict adherence to this rigid dichotomy.
I believe otherwise. My life is richer for the diversity of experience. We can have plains and mountains, frogs and elk, roots and wings. It is the breadth and very dichotomy of this state itself that feeds my soul.