“We Americans are great on fillers, as if what we have, what we are, is not enough. We have a cultural tendency toward denial, but, being affluent we strangle ourselves with what we can buy. We only have to look at the houses we built to see how we build against space, the way we drink against pain and loneliness. We fill up space as if it were a pie shell, with things whose opacity further obstructs our ability to see what is already there…”
–Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces
It wasn’t until I left Wyoming to live in southern California that I read these words by Gretel Ehrlich. Although there are some beautiful open spaces left in southern California, and some communities have progressive open space initiatives, you’re still surrounded by ~5 million people. Still, they provide an escape, if only for a few hours, from everyday life in southern California. However, having returned to central Wyoming for a visit earlier this week, I now realize just how much Ehrlich’s words resonate with me.
Standing on the prairie north of Cheyenne with the cold December wind blowing in my face, I knew I could look for miles across the bunchgrass, knowing I was one of very few people for almost 100 miles. I took a deep breath and smiled. Yes, perhaps we do build against space (are we afraid of what we might find if we explore that space?), but sometimes that space brings a very special kind of solace.
Happy Holidays to you and yours. Thank you for reading and participating on my blog this year; it really does mean a lot to me, and I appreciate it more than you know. I’ve got a few blog posts planned for the rest of this year, but am looking forward to a productive and creative 2011!
A critic would criticize this image for having nothing interesting in the foreground. But, that’s sort of the point. :)