Oh, Wyoming, we've had one heck of a time together! We didn't much like each other at first, but slowly we came to really appreciate each other.
You are harsh, but stunning. I think your extreme weather and ferocious winds made me tougher in a lot of ways, though my body has forgotten how to handle humid, hot days, so we may be at a draw, in that regard. I can now drive in 50 mph winds without much trouble, but I have lost all confidence while driving in the rain. Your waters aren't teeming with scary critters, but boy are they cold. I guess I've learned from you that there are positives and negatives about everywhere I might choose to live, and focusing on the good and unique will help me get the most from every situation.
Wyoming, you made me work hard for a lot of things. Being 70 miles from big-box stores and multiplexes, you made me rethink what was really necessary and important. You made me rely on my neighbors and their small businesses, and helped me realize that how and where I spend my money is important. You made me realize that even in a small town, I can get an incredible pizza, find hip clothes, and even find other amazing artists, in addition to all of my basic needs.
More than anything, you made me appreciate space: space between towns, which helps them retain individual identities; space between cars on the road, which makes for easy driving; and visual space, which can seem to go on forever out here. I can't say I didn't miss trees, but after a while I did find beauty in the plains, and of course the mountains.
I can also say your ties to history made me appreciate the modern conveniences. Being reminded of how pioneers traveled on the Oregon Trail, I am so thankful for paved roads and cars! That may sound silly and fundamental, but I think of the suffering of the people who made their way by wagon and horse and foot, on those trails, which are still visible, when I look west across the state. Wyoming, you have reminded me that our history is really not so far behind us.
I will miss you, Wyoming, but I will take all these lessons with me, and I know they have made me a better person, with a more complete understanding of this vast country. I think we both knew I was not going to stay here forever, but even still, I am sad to go. I take much comfort in knowing that change is slow, here, and that when I bring my future children here to visit, they will see Wyoming much the same as I have seen it.
Take care, and don't ever change!