I’ve been driving the last few days and thinking about the conversations I’ve had with a lot of different people in both Wyoming and Montana. Almost every single conversation left me with a feeling of deep respect.
These people have a deep respect for the land. They cherish their wide open spaces and the relationship between what they can expect from it and what they need to put into it. They are extremely careful not to abuse it. I talked with men in the mining industry, men in the oil and gas business, people who farm and ranch (ranches have animals…farms just crop.) There were men who haul crops and animals along with women who hunt elk and know how to bleed them out.
I’m not sure if most of these people thought that I was a liberal simply because I came from out East…but guns were talked about a lot. I was in a ranchers house, the shot guns were propped up against the door frame ready to grab at any moment, and the woman showing me the ranch mentioned that her husband killed a predator just the other day who was eating the chickens.
Why did I bring up the term liberal?? I often asked the question: What’s the greatest fear out here? The answer was strangely consistent…predators.
Not the coyotes and the wolves, but instead the humans who want to change the lifestyle of the Western frontier. The humans who come in with their big money and by up lots of land for development and not for ranching. The people who buy for private hunting but know nothing about animal management. The people who want to force their views from politics to religion to gun control on communities of people who have long been at peace.
Are there problems out here in the country…of course. There are drug issues, loneliness and cancer just like everywhere else. There are endless regulations that need to be abided and highway laws that even the locals know are dangerous. Not one person I talked with gave a rats ass about the homosexuality causes, racial injustice, or feminism…why…if you can ride a horse and rope a calf off the edge of a cliff…who cares what skin color or heritage your parents parents parents came from. Because what you do in the privacy of your own home is your business and as far as women go…a strong willed woman is respected and expected here. I met absolutely no women I would consider high maintenance and honestly didn’t see one designer handbag.
Weddings may no longer be held in churches like in the past…but God is still at the center of the family. The instant the officiant said ‘lets take a moment for prayer’ EVERY single cowboy and baseball cap came off. Every single one of them. Each was lowered to the heart and every head was bowed. Deep respect.
This way of life is a bit slower paced because freedom isn’t rushed. God, family, community, land…and the guns that protect them all.