baa baa black sheep

5.16.2006

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2:22 p.m.

I defy you, Wyoming spring. Just try and kill my new pansies.

JUST TRY.

No, wait. Please don't. We bought them from a fundraiser. Surely you'll have some pity on these good-deed pansies.

Saturday night, because I wasn't quick-thinking enough to make up an excuse, I got roped into hanging out with women I work with and their associates. From the gallery.

It was at my boss's house. She lives out of town. On our drive there, we had to stop on the gravel road because an antelope had wandered in front of the car, and apparently didn't feel like leaving. We honked, he peered into our windows. Finally he stepped off the road and we continued.

My boss lives in a house made purely of concrete. The floors are stained concrete. Her dog has been dying for quite some time. He's 12. He had a paper towel taped over his rear so we couldn't see the oozing lump that is growing and festering there. He has to be walked every two hours, or he will never get up again. She blames her husband, for once taking him for a "too-long" walk a few years ago.

She takes this dog for doggie acupuncture.

Anyway, after a very full glass of wine and during a break in a very confusing card game they have been playing for centuries together, someone said something about Wyoming. Then it was sort of quiet, as we sorted our cards, and then a woman asked, "Kara, do you like it here?"

I paused, moved a queen, and said, "No, no I don't. I don't like it at all."

They were sort of quiet, then there was nervous laughter.

"I mean, it's beautiful here. It's very beautiful. The weather is actually very nice most of the time. I'm glad we came here, I'm glad I'm getting to live here a few years to experience it, but...no. I feel trapped. I feel like Wyoming is a vast wasteland, like there is nothing here other than sky. I feel that it takes ages to get somewhere else, that it's dangerous to leave because of the pass and the wind" (people here like to threaten you about the roads, the storms, the cold, the everything) "I miss people, I miss big towns, I miss humidity and forests and being able to drive twenty minutes to a town where there is shopping and dining. I miss people getting dressed up. I wasn't made for here. I don't belong here at all."

This launched quite the conversation, where the ladies who have lived outside of Wyoming confirmed that women DO wear lipstick and wear heels and dress for dinner in other parts of the country, that it is a strange inconvenience that you can't comfortably leave your town here in winter for fear a freak storm will prompt the locking of the town gates, that the towns here are small, the towns are few and far between. The women who've only lived here expressed shock and disgust over every difference we discussed. I've had the Wyoming versus the rest of the country conversation about fifty gajillion times since we moved here, with Justin and friends and acquaintances and customers and probably the dog. I told them again, there are great things about this place. But I don't fit here.

I don't fit here.

The sky is wide and open. I'm used to the blasted sunshine, the unforgiving sunshine that exposed all the yellows and browns and grays from November until a few weeks ago. I enjoy the winds most days, I love seeing clouds rush down from the mountains and then maddeningly split around us. I am mostly used to the color palette, I feel the wildness and ancient power of the land.

The place itself is fine.

But there are other things. There are attitudes, there is smugness, there is an apathy, no, a violent opposition to change. There is the constant rubbing in, the snide remarks that "you'll never be able to handle the winter here" and "you've never seen winter before." The "I'm tougher than the rest of the country because I live in Wyoming" attitude I don't understand. I'm trying to understand it, but I don't. The only thing I can figure out is that they want to scare new comers away. Far, far away. I'm told stories about how such and such business tried to move in but we wouldn't let them, it would cause too much change, it would bring too many people. I hear complaints about how the place has become too populated, too urban. With a state population of 500,000, I don't see how that's possible. Possibly there are reasons change has been avoided, to retain something of the natural beauty, but turning away jobs from people who desperately need them? The thing that bothers me the most is the way poverty here is either hushed up or something to be proud about. I sense a fear here. A silent fear.

I don't understand it.

I'll stop now.

A woman asked, "Are you going to move back to Missouri?" I laughed and said, no. No, no. That I'm excited to see where life will take us next. Somewhere more populated, somewhere will less tumbleweeds, but not back to Missouri. I don't see that happening for a long, long time.

The antelope was still hanging out in the road on the way home. He saw our headlights and leaped away.

We've got just over another year here. I might miss the wild beauty of this place.

But I can't wait to see what's next.

Kisses,
black sheep

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love sheep too, however, I have never owned a few. Just one, her name was Mary. My Dad bought her from a sheep herder when I was about 8. I fed her with a bottle. When she was little older - I missed seeing her one day. She ende up on our food menu. I was so sad. I could not eat my lamb.

7:41 AM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Dino Might said...

I haven't.

And I'm afraid that you haven't either.

That would be impossible.

8:34 AM, May 16, 2006  

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