The river and the mountain

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the river and the mountain

Pushed Off the Mountain, Sold Down the River: Wyomings Search for Its Soul by Samuel Wetern

Its been almost three years since I first arrived in Wyoming. First impressions? Remoteness and solitude. Around me lied an immense open space lined with yellow grass, spanning well beyond the horizon, only disturbed by sparse dots of grazing black cows and defiant mountains in the distance. Laramie, the 30,000-strong college town where I came to live, was a dismal sight. A grid of wide empty streets running parallel and perpendicular to the Union Pacific Railroad line, with large residential lots of gable-front houses around the university campus, and a small downtown business district with flat-roofed western buildings made of brick or stone dating back to the mid-1800s. A moldy little spot. Civilization delayed, I thought.

I could hardly believe that behind me were Lisbons sun-splashed boulevards, fairytale castles, and panoramic views from the Moorish citadel, the small patches of blue from the radiant Tagus around every corner, the hissing sounds from expresso machines in bustling coffee shops, and the slurred melody of Portuguese rising from the space between cobblestones in crowded streets. Where were the people? Here and there, I would spot a truck spewing black smoke from the exhaust, rupturing my eardrums as we intersected. The occasional passer-by would greet you and smile, momentarily shaking free the impression that Laramie was a ghost town, although raising kidnap alarms. Sigh.

The thought that my stay would be temporary lessened the saudade. But how temporary are four years? In the great scheme of things, a flicker, but for the present-biased wayfarer, a lifetime. The usual platitude then applied: It is human nature to adapt. And so I have. I immersed myself in Wyoming and started to marvel at its otherworldly natural beauty, the blend between arid desolation and lush wilderness, the rocky bluffs, buttes, and mesas rising from the earth, the snow-covered mountains against the wide, never-ending sky… I made friends and studying keeps me merrily occupied. You may see me get on with bike rides to and fro between home and campus against the impenetrable wind, with cold yet energizing morning runs in the snow, with pancake breakfasts at Chuck Wagon, with study dates in the library, with people-watching at Coal Creek, with shopping trips to Fort Collins, with fancy dinners at Altitude, with boogie nights at the decadent Buckhorn, or with senseless fishbowl sprees on Thursdays at Mingles. Time within a day expanded and life acquired an unparalleled sense of simplicity.

As an outsider, you cant help but to compare your own experiences and background to the new world around you. You become aware of everything that makes this place so different and, in some ways, so unique. Wyomings isolation is part of its charm: the endless stretches of highway without seeing another soul, the tiny little towns that disappear in a flash when you pass through them, or the occasional homestead where some family lives in complete exile. And then you have the Cowboys. Yes, the stereotype: the hat, the tartan shirt, the denim jeans, the boots, the belt, the hard-headed conservatives with a narrow shape of masculinity. But to me these were the outliers, kept at bay by the frontiers of a forward-looking college town. The adventurous creepers that sometimes dared to infiltrate Laramies hub of modernity. Around me are, instead, the outdoorsy college students who love skiing, hiking, climbing, and campfires, who wear colorful North Face and Pantagonia apparels, and who radiate health and environmentalism.

Yet, everyone would tell me: Laramie is not Wyoming, nor is the tourist-pandering Cowboy idea. What is Wyoming then? When in doubt…

The book provides a great survey of the Wyoming myth centered around its history since its foundation in 1880. The myth? A Cowboy State populated by free individuals characterized by unflinching courage and fierce independence. A symbolic narrative that provides a sanitized view of Wyomings past. C.S. Lewis once wrote: myths [are] made fact. And indeed, Wyomingites take full pride in their western tradition. Theyre not just wannabes in boots and cowboy hats. Theyre true Marlboro men riding broncos, competing in rodeos, cattle ranching, and swing dancing. No doubt symbols can be a great thing. They bring groups of people together to create a sense of belonging. But they can also be dangerously crippling. Anachronistic views about ones identity may deny any push for reform and drive the community into a deadlock. This appears to be the case.

Wyoming has historically been a very poor state. Its harsh weather has prevented many a settler from putting roots down here. Not until the advent of oil and coal industries in the 70s, when Wyoming realized it had been sitting on a gold mine, did its economy take off. Highly reliant on an extractive industry, Wyoming is facing a turning tide, now that the world is going green. But it finds itself in a privileged position. The booming years of the coal and oil industries have allowed sizable amounts of money to flood the states vaults through a severance tax on minerals. A $7 billion rainy-day fund, they call it. Rainy days arent really the norm in sunny Wyoming and that fund is left barely untouched for use in productive investments.

The author makes a compelling argument that what makes an economy progress is brains and not muscle. He describes Wyoming as a state afflicted by a brain drain, incapable of persuading the young to stay within its borders, stuck in the Hollywood image of the Old West, and hell-bent on avoiding influence from the outside world, be it acknowledging climate change or development of any sort. Still today, with three times the size of Portugal, Wyoming has little more than 500,000 residents, no major city to beat the drum for, and no distinct attraction to harness the young and to offset an ageing population.

Much like the Catholic Church, Wyoming appears to hold on to a strict moral compass, impervious to the whims and fast changes coming from the outside, and therefore adapting slowly. I appreciate unshakable characters, to the extent that these are the product of continuous learning, and not the steadfast reluctance to allow improvements to take place. I, too, am generally cautions when led up the garden path of modernity. People talk of progress with such a scientific fatalism. I understand that globalization is exactly that, global. Pervasive. Yet, not everything about this overly connected world is desirable and does away with criticism. Perhaps the crux of what makes Wyoming so resistant to change is the seemingly unavoidable cultural wash. They dont want to lose their identity. And they mask this fear in proud statements of stoic solidity, yet concealing deep economic and social fragilities, therefore putting their communities at risk of dying finally though, granted, with dignity. The problem is, today we die daily and are born anew with every breaking dawn.

Dreamily revisiting a fantasized past is preventing Wyoming from facing itself and the world as it is today. Wyomingites are addicted to freedom and deny reality since, as Chesterton once put it, when you step into the world of facts, you step into a world of limits. But limitation is freedom. And while we may free things from accidental laws, we cannot free them from the laws of their own nature. We can free a tiger from his bars, but not from his stripes. Likewise, we can free Wyoming from dusty fringe jackets, but never from its Stetson hat: a good, honest, straightforward, and hard-working community. A place where values transcend circumstance. And as with anything that changes later, it can change better - simply by avoiding the mistakes of those that precipitously stepped into the water without checking its depth, knowing full well that they cant swim. I therefore challenge you, landlocked Wyoming: ride the wave, yee-haw!
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Published 09.12.2018

The Fisherman and His Wife - Bedtime Stories - My Pingu Tv

This is one of the best bedtime stories for babies online. One day, the river thought to herself, "Do I need to keep flowing all my life? Can't I stop.
Samuel Wetern

High-mountain rivers and streams

Sign in. Alex Borstein , RuPaul , and other stars at the Emmys answer our fans' burning questions. Watch now. Title: The Mountain, the River and the Road Jeff is a failing post-college writer whose parents are finally kicking him out of the house.

The hydrologic regime is determined by the snow. Therefore, the discharge of the water courses varies enormously depending on the season. It is at its maximum in spring when the thaw can cause sudden surges. The waters are not very mineralised and are often acid and cold with daily average temperatures oscillating from below zero to 16 degrees depending on the time of year. We can distinguish two sections: above the tree line, with fast-flowing, very diluted water, and below the tree line, that transports more organic material and has greater biodiversity.

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By the time you read this I will have started my month-long stint on the road to New Zealand, Shanghai and Mumbai. I am likely to be jet lagged but also wildly excited about the new vistas I am going to encounter, both literal and metaphorical. - Welcome to Mountain and River Adventures!

The trail … [more Ruffing it Out Written by Jocelyn BrownWith winter coming to a close and spring quickly approaching, now is a great time to hit the trails … [more Constructed through a combined … [more This phrase will certainly get the attention of many, particularly those who are not familiar with the geology of the River Mountains. The Mojave Desert is home to the desert tortoise which is listed as a "Threatened " species under the Edangered Species Act.

English versions, by D. Qingyuan declared that there were three stages in his understanding of the dharma: the first stage, seeing mountain as mountain and water as water; the second stage, seeing mountain not as mountain and water not as water; and the third stage, seeing mountain still as mountain and water still as water. Suzuki Alan Watts Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Ruby B. says:

    Episode 2 | The River, The Mountain, and You

  2. Lucero C. says:

    River & the Mountain: readings of Uganda's first gay play by Sarah Imes Borden — Kickstarter

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