Postcard from Cody, Wyoming


Every day is a potential thunderstorm which never quite happens. Blue skies will suddenly go dark, thunder booming in the distance, a few drops of rain, and then it’s gone. Or it happens over some distant mountain, a terrible lovely sight to see from a safe distance.

I know they call Montana “Big Sky Country” but it’s applicable here, too, on Yellowstone’s eastern border. It’s as though ten times the wild blue yonder is up, up and above us.

This weekend hot air balloons will rise to fill the spaces of sky between towering mountains in every direction. A man and his lady will drive their children into said mountains, only to feel an immediate and overwhelming presence akin to a panic attack. He will experience it as exhilaration, like standing at the edge of a massive cliff. She’ll wonder if it means she’s pregnant, again. Either way, the desperate wonder it creates will stick with them for as long as they inhabit the area.

Personally, I think it’s some force of nature warning us that to continue damming up and developing out this sacred old place will mean harsh consequences for those who do.

This is nature at its finest. It’s both the ancestral home of true cowboys and the show tune alike. It’s an open range never meant to be tamed, and that we’ve been able to do so shows just how powerful humanity has become.

Still, long after we’ve gone, the human race that is, grizzlies and golden eagles and grey wolves will roam without predator. As the desert plains to alpine mountain terrain reclaim our saloons and RV parks and US highways, we’ll be another fossil in the making. Nature will take back what it owns quickly, beautifully. Alien races who discover our blue and green planet will dig up our knives and tractors and iPhones wondering how such a primitive people could have conquered such a wild, wild world.