Back to the grid, missing the valley

Though I’ve only been away for four days, I still miss the West. So much it hurts.

Something about the simplicity, about brush filling in the prairie gaps between mountains, about rivers that go on forever, about altitude changes that form sawtoothed horizons. Where every fence is wooden. Every bagel shop generous. Every tourist in awe, and every resident following suit.

For me, it’s the Jackson Hole area. For others, it might be the northwest. New York City. The lake district in England, or the hills of Tuscany. An area that invites painful longing; that we experience but never own, our vacations and trips merely a rental of the area, backed by deposits, contracted to be returned unscathed.

We need these areas. Not because we enjoy being someplace we’re not, but because it puts our homes in perspective.

I love northwest Wyoming – it’s the area my family settled, and the area where I spent my summers. Take away all of my ties, and I might be there in a second. Take away my family, my job, my friends, my opportunities, and I’d move to the valley in a second.

But those things are what make Sioux Falls so good.

Those things make this home.

Jackson Hole is no home. And while I still long to be back there, helping my grandmother with the lawn and staring down the Snake River, I know that it offers nothing of what good ol’ Sioux Falls does.

The valley holds my desires. The prairie holds my life.

This was lovingly handwritten on June 8th, 2010