The Value of Place

I’m blogging from Laramie tonight. We’re on our annual trip to Wyoming. For Ken, it’s a chance to unwind and enjoy time without having the pressures of treating someone’s beloved pet weighing on him. For me, it isn’t an annual trip—it’s a necessary pilgrimage to wide open spaces, to places that call my name, to someplace that renews my soul. A few days before we left for this trip, I was on the phone with one of my friends and that friend said “Wyoming is so desolate.” Without even a second’s hesitation, I said, “Yes, Wyoming is desolate, but there is an incredible, awesome beauty in that desolation.”

My DH heard me say that and when I hung up the phone, he was almost laughing. He said that when I talk about Wyoming and how much I love this place, I sound like I’m talking about a cherished loved one. And, he’s right. There is something so incredible about this place, something that I need and that I love beyond all reason. There is an intangible wealth in the value of place. Every place has value, both tangible and intangible.
For me the intangible is the renewing of my soul. For some people, attending a religious event renews them. For me, to be in this place so full of natural cathedrals, is a renewal of my spiritual and emotional batteries.

For the last several weeks, I’ve been struggling with my writing life. My Muse, while She hasn’t been absent, has not been cooperative. The other day while we were driving through the Big Horns, my Muse began speaking. Thankfully, my son was driving—which is an unusual event in itself because I usually drive in Wyoming. I pulled out a note pad and a pen and began to scribble as quickly as I could. I filled almost five pages with notes and scene snippets.
I truly believe if I had the opportunity to hole up somewhere in this state, with several cases of diet cokes, a few cartons of cigarettes, and electricity, I could fully produce a novel in two weeks. (And before anyone says anything about the cigarettes, when I’m writing I may light up, but beyond the first drag, I don’t smoke. The cigarette will literally sit in the ash tray and burn down to a long cylinder of ash.) It was freeing to write longhand and just scribble whatever came to mind and trying to get everything written down. It’s been a long time since I have had that kind of inspiration and it literally came to me out of the blue. I wasn’t thinking about writing or creating anything and I had finally allowed my mind to wander. Within moments, I was struck with that inspiration.
So, if I disappear for several weeks, don’t come looking for me in Wyoming. I don’t want to be found. The Muse and I will be communing. And, that is the value of this place that I so cherish and honor. Wyoming is my Muse. 

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