My wife, meanwhile, has her own perspective. “Many people think this valley can prosper in isolation, but let me tell you, the local museum indicates otherwise. It’s filled with Pennsylvania long rifles, Ohio flint, a New Hampshire stagecoach, antique cars from Michigan, pianos made in Indiana, Connecticut pistols, even Illinois farm implements. Everybody came from somewhere.” In her case, South Carolina.

Taking her up on the invitation to tour the exhibits, my wife paid special attention to local Indian basketry and beadwork. “Over time, their artistry was pathetically stripped down to resemble coloring books,” she told me afterward. “The gift shop sells greeting cards from Iowa and crafts from what the sales clerk said was ‘Berea, Virginia.’

“Virginia? I replied.”

“The college there.”

“Oh, you mean Kentucky!”

“‘Kentucky, then,’ she said, as if it’s all the same.”

I understand the scowl. “I notice, around here ‘Easterners’ seem to come from such ‘seaboard’ states as landlocked Nebraska, Kansas, and Illinois.”

“That’ll be news to them,” she grins. “Bet they never thought of themselves as Easterners, either!”

Infinite misunderstandings continue, tit for tat.

“Even so,” I say, “this is big sky and cowboy spreads. Even these treeless foothills ignite something in my airy nature. I hope this elation never ends.”

An elation, at least, when I’m out of the office.

I look forward to tonight’s gig with Kokopelli.

For more insights from the American Far West and Kokopelli, click here.

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