Mountains appeared on the horizon this morning just before 10. I knew they were coming, as the roadsides started showing topography upon entering Wyoming. I am in the west now. The American West. I first set foot in this state 4 years ago and it looked the same as it does today – pale, light blue sky, strewn with thin, wispy clouds, and green hills, with freight trains inching by. I’m sure they’re not actually inching, they probably travel at high speeds, but the landscape is so massive that they appear to just crawl along.

I was greeted warmly by Bill and Jo as I pulled up, and I was told to stay for days. Bill got the sauna going and we sat in there for a while chatting. It was nowhere near as hot as the sweat lodge, but still intense. Upon entry the warmth was a comfort from the wind outside, but very quickly my face seemed to be melting off. You think that is a figure of speech, but I used my hand to investigate the situation multiple times, pushing my cheeks back into place. He threw water with peppermint oil on the rocks, which was an odd sensation, as adding water makes steam that intensifies the heat, but the mint entering your orifices and gaping pores feels cool. It is easy to forget there is a world out there when you are sweating. When I re-entered the yard I was overwhelmed by the deep gray clouds and pare aspen shaking in the wind. I staggered to the creek side feeling cleansed and rejuvenated, though dizzy and drenched in my own sweat, and I remembered why I am here. Not in Wyoming, but in existence.

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