As we prepare for Winter travels and holiday tidings, I find myself thinking about this fine tumbleweed I spotted in downtown Laramie, Wyoming. I was there on business not long ago, and after a dinner alone (of raw Prime Rib, and garlicky mashed potatoes capped off with something called Eggnog Pie) I decided to wander around the little downtown area. I was told about a footbridge there that you could climb up to and watch the long cross country freight trains as they rattle by underneath. A long locomotive pulled up just as I approached the bridge, so I clamored up to the top and watched as car after car after car rumbled along. I was the only person there – at times it felt like I was the only person in Laramie, and it was bitterly cold. Too cold for my fancy sneakers that I ordered from Paris, because we got a pair there once years ago. I took note of the shoe store downtown so that I could come back the next day and look for boots. But there, freezing, underneath yet another super moon, it was hypnotic and calming to watch those cars go by. I walked to the end and back, despite the cold, then returned to my car. As I got to the block where the car was parked, I found this little tumbleweed. Beautifully lit beneath the street lamps. I thought about trying to bring it home, but that’s an awkward way to make friends on a four hour flight. I let it be, since it probably had somewhere to go. And I walked back to my rental car and returned to my room at the hotel, which was marked by a plaque that read. “Grizzly Room.” In the lobby all the taxidermied bears and deer and elk had little Santa hats on and the empty hall echoed with the sounds of Santa Baby. I thought about the few of us that were staying there. Passing through like that tumbleweed. but confined to these strange sad places. The next day I ate lunch at Arby’s, which is always better in theory than in reality. Except for curly fries. All fries should be curly fries. I stopped in to see some dinosaur bones at the Geology Museum and then went to the tiny airport to fly home. There’s always something affirming about the wide open West, even now. But I was happy to get back to New York and the mess of Laguardia, and this place where you’re never alone. Warmest holiday wishes to all, no matter where you are. Here’s hoping we find good places to land in 2017.


Comments are closed.