Stories, Learning & Place

Monday, January 03, 2005

America’s future depends on us
   Feeling young in eastern Montana

Ed Marston makes a point I’ve talked about before. The Rocky Mountain and Great Plains states are related to the eastern states in somewhat the way the American colonies were related to England in, say, 1770. Those who feel they are at the center of power feel we are rustic provincials. Marston suggests that nonetheless it might be up to us to decide America’s future:

. . .in the end, of course, the scorned, cultureless colonies triumphed and came to dominate the English-speaking world. They succeeded because the colonists had, in addition to several million square miles of land at their backs, aggression, pride and a genius for politics.

A couple summers ago I put on an institute for teachers, and all our speakers from out of state commented on the sense of desolation they got driving through the eastern part of the state. If you judge Harlowton or Chester by the standards of a Portland strip mall, it might seem to be lacking. But when I’m out there, my overwhelming sense is of a young world, full of possibililty.

When I visit Portland or Seattle, my overwhelming sense is, “My goodness. It’s too late.”

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 01/03 at 11:09 PM
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©2005 Michael L. Umphrey
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