Flying over Nevada and Utah, you see a moonscape. Nothingness. Dry, crusty, brown-gray ripples of empty. This has always sent a sizzling thrill down my spine because in Boston, everything is built up, peopled, poofed out with trees. It’s colonized, utterly. But when you fly over the middle and West of our country you remember: there IS a lot of SPACE out here! Perspective.
All this is made much more dramatic by having taught “The Donner Party Story” in summer school last month and realizing that (amid feasting on each other’s flesh to stay alive in the freezing cold impasse), our American fore-people CROSSED all of this emptiness ON FOOT!