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Lovely Lander

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Sep. 8th, 2013 | 10:16 pm
location: United States, Wyoming, Lander
mood: contemplativecontemplative
music: blue grass

Who knew this country could be so gorgeous? This earth packs power into its land to strike awe into us time and time again; forever giving us opportunities to stop the mind, and realize that the tear-jerking, amazing landscapes before us are in fact mirroring something inside us we so often forget to cherish.

My travels have taken me into Wyoming, and despite initial raised eyebrows that assumed nothing but narrow minded cowboys, I'm loving my time here. A wonderful host in Lander, whom I met through couchsurfing.com, has opened her home to me and generously shared all the parts of this area that makes her love living here. She too is from a more populated area, has traveled the world doing humanitarian work, and loves the outdoors. She chose this tiny town with population only 7500 due to the supposedly well funded public schools (she teaches 3rd grade) that gets money funneled to them starting with the state's oil industry. But her personal reason is the same reason that tempts me to sleep on the grass staring at the perfectly, milky way-highlighted clear, starry night- the land. At an altitude of 5200 feet, the clouds sit close enough to give that dramatic feeling, the air is crisp, and the mountains stand out like gloriously decorated warriors prepared for battle. They create, and are, exhilarated confidence.

Driving up here from Colorado, I was impressed by the long views of plains covered in sage-bushes, diagonally projecting rock, dry, sandy rock hills, and the jetting, jagged peaks of the mountains further north. But this in Lander holds even more interesting mixes- the lush forests of evergreens covering high hills, rushing rivers, and sharp cliffs that capture puffs of lower clouds. It provides a majestic feel that I haven't felt since I hiked to Machu Picchu years ago, and the government clearly recognized there was something special here too- they declared it the Shoshone National Forest in 1891. It's as if the earth still stands in its own right here, having avoided being entirely tamed and paved.

It all feeds a clear minded empowerment. Breathing it all in, it's evident that the spectacularness will always fall short of words, but it can be digested. Blessed earth, blessed mother, you give such life.
This travel for me represents a certain important moving forward in my life that is only now illuminating itself. The west has such draw for me. Letting go of the attachments to the east coast and South America just enough to venture out creates awareness, or a sense of, endless possibilities. I'm not sure where it is all headed. I'm still mildly in limbo from the Peruvian adventure, clouding the full force of power behind any chosen path, and reminding me to choose more carefully. As the cloud gradually lifts, the sun that is shining through seems to be associated with a life in the west. Boise? Portland? Eureka? Time and connections will tell.

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