Wyoming Spring Creek: Unity in Division

1735 miles away from home, 5-4 hours by airplane or 1 day 49 minutes by car per google maps nearest estimation. It certainly seems that I have traveled to a distant land. Gone are the tall buildings and bustling streets, the green forested hills of eastern Pennsylvania have shrunk and stretched into the flat prairie lands of southern Wyoming. I wouldn’t have thought it possible to travel domestically and yet in the space of a day experience such culture shock. The adaptation from urbanite to frontiersman has been a gradual process, acclimatizing slowly to the thin air and overbearing sun, the open spaces and lingering dryness that floats on the wind. It’s a demanding lifestyle to live, a lifestyle that breeds hardiness, self-sufficiency, and tradition. There is an air of permanence that endures in the fabric of this landscape from the strongholds of geologic formations to the old west attitude from the people that tend this land.

I must admit I had assumed that the expansive distances would guarantee a degree of isolation and loneliness, however mingling with the local crowd and exploring the towns of Rock River and Laramie it was difficult to hold on to this perception. The natural separation due to Wyoming’s topography, agricultural, and ranching industries seemed to instead invigorate the investment into unity, tradition, and bonds within the community. The strengthening and commitment to these community bonds can be seen in the celebration of Laramie’s Jubilee Days. Jubilee Days began as a horse race in the 1940s to commemorate the statehood of Wyoming and later became a signature hometown celebration for Laramie occurring every year. The weeklong observance features events that honor the historic traditions of the American West and present livelihoods of its residence with events such as rodeos, bull riding, swing dancing lessons, country and folk music, art fests, and a Saturday morning parade that hosted the whole range of members of the community from high school marching bands to National Forest Service workers to old ranchers riding their trackers as their float. So easy to escape into the endless horizon of the prairie flats far away from outside human contact for miles around, an unshakable sense of pride and patriotism emanates out from the people of Wyoming, as despite the obstacles in place to physically separate these communities of people, they come together to share and remember what binds them closer than ever.

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