Paradise Unhitched

Nine hundred miles down and more than 2100 to go on one leg of my trip.  Wow!  This was going to be a long day of travel to Lima, Peru.  I’d already watched one less-than-stellar movie,  I really had no interest in another.  I felt like a kid.  “How much longer?  Are we there yet?”  I stretched my legs and pulled my backpack out from the overhead compartment.  Some more reading would do.

As I was headed out the door to start my trip that morning at an unearthly hour, I saw the latest edition of Wyoming Wildlife sitting on the buffet table.  I grabbed it and put it in my back pack.  I’ve gotten the magazine for many years.  There was a short gap in the subscription, but then it started coming again in March 2010.  The label showed I had a two-year subscription.  I hadn’t asked for it.  I hadn’t paid for it.  I didn’t want it.

I find it hard to describe the feelings I’ve had over the past 15 months every time the magazine arrived in the mail.  At first I wanted to throw it away.  It was taunting me, laughing in my face, louder with each edition.  I was angry at it.  Angry at the reminder of the life that had been stolen from me.  But the magazine is a high quality publication of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.  I couldn’t bring myself to just pitch the collection.  They sat untouched and unread.  At one point I decided to give the subscription away, but I could never bring myself to write the letter or make the call to change the delivery address.  The magazine kept coming.

So I found myself reading through the latest edition with moist eyes, studying the vibrant pictures of familiar lands and animals I have dearly loved, scouring over the names of authors and photographers in search of someone I might know.  And I read a passage that struck a chord. “We have a tendency to see the past through rose-colored glasses.  At some point the good in the “good old days” comes unhitched from the bad, and the folks who lived through those days come to regard them as a paradise that generally has little to do with historical fact.” (Chris Madson, ‘A Message from our Mule Deer’, Wyoming Wildlife June 2011).

I suppose Chris is right.  But maybe, for now, that’s ok.

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