Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Whirligig in Wyoming

I came to Wyoming 2 years ago with no intention of liking it. It seemed mostly brown and barren--rangeland that stretched as far as the eye could see. Sometimes the horizon was pimpled with oil rigs, not pumping. I'd grown up in rural Idaho. I thought I understood remoteness and space and the barren distance between two places. I didn't. For me, Wyoming wasn't green enough. There were not enough mountains. My skin cracked and dried out like an alligator's.

Wyoming has a catch phrase: "Forever West." It's how they lure people here in travel brochures and T.V. ads. Ironically, being in Wyoming is the furthest East I've ever lived.

I came here with low expectations. And like Sally in the Disney movie "Cars": "I fell in love." I fell in love with a place where the traffic is slower and the cell phone coverage is sketchy at best. I fell in love with a town that feels like my own town did when I was a kid in late '70s. Locally owned businesses line Main Street. There is a McDonald's and a Subway and Safeway and a Family Dollar, but few other "chains." A shopping mall, Sam's Club, Target: they're all 2 hours away. Family is even further. But the town has what I value and need: a library, a swimming pool, a park, an ice-skating rink in winter, a golf course with groomed cross country ski trails when the snow is deep. I think we're the only family in town without a dog.

I never thought I'd leave this place. My soul had finally found a home, a place to land after flitting about like a caged bird. This was it. But things happen. The bad economy which seemed so far away is here too, with budget cuts and broken things. We're looking at another job change, at leaving here. I told a friend last night that with a job loss also comes a sort of mourning, not just for the loss of the job, or the income, or the security it provides, but also a sort of mourning for the life you had imagined for yourself. I'd imagined a life here: of raising my kids here, buying a house, writing a novel or two or twenty, of getting older, of biking up the canyon, and of backpacking every piece I could of the Wind River Mountain Range. It hurts to have to leave.

He told me that no one talks in language like that: "of mourning the life you had imagined for yourself"--and that I should be writing. And so I am. I wrote it down.

But it still hurts.


Mer said...

wow - I didn't realize you had been there two years - time really flies! I'm sorry you have to leave. I hope you find a new home for your soul, and lots of time to write - I love reading your work.

gaylene said...

Lovely post that sums up what I'm going through, too, minus the job loss. With my husband going back to school, moving us across the country, I've had to mourn the life we could have had here, too. I'm sure good things will come wherever you are, and you'll write that book some place just as amazing :)

Ratchfords said...

I'm so sorry to see you leave Wyoming - I know how much you love it here! But I'm also excited to see what your new adventure will be. Best of luck!

Mommy said...

You will make the best of it. You were such an amazing example to me when I had to move. I bet it is hard. I am sorry because you are you and that is what I love. Keep writing because you have a talent. Besides, one day I want to brag that my friend wrote this book that everyone has to read. I will wait and wait until the book is published because one day it will be.


TeacherGenne said...

I'm sorry.....beautiful post.

Heather said...

I have mourned the life I had imagined for myself too. And more than once. What a great way to put it. Hopefully there is something really great around the corner. Something that you can also love, and just as much. Believe me I NEVER imagined we would live in Texas or in one of the largest cities in the country (being more of country folk). But we do and we LOVE it surprisingly enough. No matter what, you will be taken care of and things will work out for the best even if it doesn't seem like it sometimes. I'll pray for a new better job soon. Liefs.

farmgirl said...

I wish I had some wonderful words of wisdom, I don't. Change is hard. Change is also good, but change is hard...think of you often and hoping for the best. Keep on keepin' on.

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

I'm sorry that you have to leave the slow-quiet-emptiness you have found you love. I'm sorry you have to leave friends. I know what it is to lose you and so I'm sorry for the friends you will leave behind. Have you found anything yet?

Don't lose the quiet inner space that encourages you to write. Have you finished the book/books? I want to read it/them.

I think of you often, you wouldn't think so by how often I check your blog but I do. I have been in a funk and now it's over.

Where are you going?