Way back in 1982 or so, my then-Wyoming-based uncle sent me a Wyoming Cowboys sweatshirt for my birthday. It was not the gift of my dreams at the time, nor was the invitation to go spend the summer in Casper with my cousins:
For almost 30 years from the time this photo was taken, I didn't give much thought to Wyoming. After five years in my beloved Montana, however, we learned the Air Force was sending us to... Wyoming. It would be generous to say I was, erm, not enthused. Matt will tell you I was no picnic to live with that first year away from Montana; despite the fact that we bought our first house and were having a fine time making it our own, I never really felt at home. Despite how in love we fell with University of Wyoming basketball our first year in Wyoming, I never really felt part of the Wyoming identity. Despite the little opportunities presented to me while we lived here, I was oblivious to the beneficial impact they were having on me. Despite bringing our little Wyoming native baby home in 2002, I still felt a disconnect with the state we declared ourselves permanent residents of for eternity to be square with the IRS. And when we moved away in 2003, I easily slipped back into not giving much thought to Wyoming.
We came back. I shook my head at the universe's joke on me, carting back my Wyoming native and her two sisters and all our worldly possessions across the state line. But in the 3+ years we've been back, things have changed. A little here, a tiny bit there, repeat, and suddenly I'm flat-out amazed at how attached we've become to Wyoming.
I know. The crow is almost overwhelming.
We had a really good weekend based upon uniquely Wyoming experiences. Somehow, we feel at home in our borrowed house. We feel genuine outrage when the other team (a MAC team no less) plays with less-than-sportsmanlike conduct and knocks out our quarterback. We've made real friends. We have a little bit of institutional memory in our back pockets. We've established ourselves as more than transients, people marking time until the next place. We've been added to the permanent record and at the risk of sounding overly sentimental, our hearts were very full last night as we went to sleep under starry Wyoming skies.
Moral of the story: I guess you just never know how life is going to turn out.