The Casual Reporter: Why I Love Wyoming

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why I Love Wyoming

My grandmother forwarded me this article written by a sports reporter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer. It made me proud to be from Wyoming and made me wonder why I'm not there now.

Trip to Wyoming feels far from home but closer to God: Faith and You
By Terry Pluto
September 26, 2009, 4:55AMI don't think much about heaven, other than that I want to go

There are some images of heaven with angels floating on clouds and playing harps, or perhaps of heaven as a never-ending church service where people sing and pray until they drop. I don't know what heaven will be like, but I doubt either of those portraits is correct.

Last Saturday, I flew to Denver to cover the Browns game I'm not sure what that 27-6 loss to Denver was; it sure wasn't heaven.

But the day before that game, I went to southern Wyoming and thought a lot about heaven.

I drove down roads where I saw more pronghorn antelope than I did cars and people. I drove down roads where I saw signs reading, "Next services, 34 hours." I drove down roads where, when it snows, they drop gates and close the interstates until the storm passes.

I drove down roads under high skies and huge clouds that seemed to rise up to the heavens. I drove down roads through miles of open pastures, roads where my cellphone was long out of range.

I drove down roads that made me think of a line from novelist Dan O'Brien: "You have a sense that everyone can see you, but no one is looking."

That may bother some people, who are uneasy about all the rugged, lonely hills and valleys.

For those who love a crowd and the 50-percent-off sale at the mall, a state with 522,830 people and an estimated 550,000 antelope may not have much appeal.

I have been to Wyoming at least a dozen times. On each visit, I think how the land is not tamed by man. Some mountains are too high, some rivers too wild, some storms too fierce.

I know that there are days when Wyoming can seem like hell on earth during a blizzard, a dust storm, or with a blown radiator in the middle of nowhere and no one around to call for help.

But I didn't think of that as I drove south of Laramie. I saw several herds of pronghorns - 10 over here, 25 there, at least 50 ahead on top of the hill. For 10 miles, not a single car was on the road.

In Isaiah 65:17, God says, "Behold, I will create a new heaven and a new earth."

I had a taste of it as I drove west on Wyoming 130 into the Snowy Mountains. They rose 10,000 feet with the sun peeking behind snow-capped peaks. Rather than spend any time wondering how such a place was created, I was in awe of God's hand and power behind it all.

Then I saw a truck on the other side of the road, a man standing near it, staring into the woods. I slowed down and spotted a huge horse with antlers .. only, it was a moose in a clearing. I stopped and walked over to the man.

"There's four of 'em," he said. Then a female moose and two young ones ambled out from behind some bushes, joining the big bull. We watched them silently for about five minutes, me wondering what exactly got into God when he created a strange creature like a moose. Sheer entertainment, I suppose.

Finally, the four moose disappeared back in the woods. The other man and I left, too, nodding to each other but not saying a word.

First Corinthians 2:9 reads: "As it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. "

But that Saturday in Wyoming, I was given just a glimpse.

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