Wyoming Spring Creek – Observing the Landscape


As I write this, I am sitting next to the opening of a prairie dog tunnel system, there are ants, bees, and beetles are hard at work all around me, and there is a bird of prey circling far above my head. Life persists. Plants of so many species grow around me, and I am starting to be able to recognize them by name. Birdsfoot Sage is growing in tufts on my left and Saltbush in a clump by my foot. Grasses of various species are on every side and not far away is a prickly pear cactus. I’m not as familiar with the rocks of the area, or rocks in general, but they are starting to become more familiar. I can recognize the very general type of rock and what that means about its history, like the metamorphic rocks that have undergone immense heat and pressure to be changed into their current state or the sedimentary rocks that are accumulations of millennia of history. 

The most incredible thing I’ve noticed during my first week here in Wyoming is the sheer determination of life and its ability to survive in some of the most hostile environments. From a distance, the Wyoming landscape seems barren and lifeless, brown and craggy. Up close, however, the land is absolutely teeming with life. Plants are thriving as far as the eye can see, and yet none of them are taller than my knee. Mammals like prairie dogs and pronghorns adapt to the unforgiving landscape and are able to find ways survive. There’s a certain kind of hope that this inspires, about how it’s possible and worth it to persevere when the odds are stacked against you. My time in Wyoming so far has already been filled with unforgettable experiences from eating cactus to finding ancient arrowheads, holding snakes to licking dino bones. The Wyoming landscape is worlds different from anything I’ve ever seen before and is completely alien compared to the forests and fields of Pennsylvania. History is so baldly written in the earth here, and it’s impossible to not feel connected to nature and all of the humans that have been here before. 

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