Oh my gosh, I have to quote Mary Connealy’s post: “I realized that if I’d been a pioneer and someone said, ‘Turn at the highest mountain peak, Pike’s Peak, and go west, there’s a pass that’ll get your through the Rockies to California’ …I’d have died. I wouldn’t have made a good pioneer. Those mountains all looked about the same height to me. Of course I’d have probably fallen off the covered wagon and drown the first time we forded a creek so….I was born in the right century.”
Too funny (had to mop tea off my computer screen!) and raises a great point. There’s a world of difference between appreciating the beauty of the rugged and wild west and truly experiencing that feral wilderness. Brings to mind one of my favorite books, THE TORTILLA CURTAIN, by TC Boyle. Though it was required college reading and centers on immigration in California, I became a fan of Boyle’s vivid writing style. The book offers a parallel and honest view of life on both sides of the curtain; on one side is a nature-loving suburbanite who writes a nature column and enjoys his peaceful jaunts through the desert just beyond his back fence—on the other side of the fence is the immigrant who’s living in that desert by means of sheer surival. The two points of view shown in the same timeframe are startlingly poingnant–how they view the desert, a coyote’s call, changes in the weather. And how these views change when both worlds ultimately collide.
I also like to search the web and libraries for journals of pioneers. One thing that has always struck me about many of the entries is their ability to still see the beauty in the land surrounding them amid tragedy and hardship. And then you had pioneers like the woman who made that long, perilous trek eleven times, helping others who weren’t quite so exhuberant about the trek *g*, because she simply loved the adventure of never knowing what awaited them beyond the next bend. Wish I could remember her name….
Like Minna, I’d have an easier time naming places I wouldn’t want to visit 🙂 As Allison said, there’s something very spirtual about walking on the homeland of the Hualapai people, where they’ve lived for over 400 years–and to feel their love for the land. Terri gave me chills with her comment about hearing Irish brogue all her life through her dreams. Thanks so much to everyone who’s shared their thoughts and experiences 🙂
I’ll be back to chat more in a bit, and pull some posts from a hat and announce our book winners 🙂