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Essays

  • Credo: The People’s West

    Photographer Stephen Trimble offers suggestions for how citizens and communities can reinvent their relationship with the Western landscape.

  • In Montana, a festival of light

    In the depths of a dark Montana winter, Rebecca Stanfel lights the Hanukah candles and rejoices in being Jewish.

  • Wake up to the West, wannabe presidents

    Pat Williams says the candidates running for the nation’s highest office need to start paying attention to the people – and the problems – of the Rocky Mountain West.

  • The aroma of Tacoma

    Karen Mockler likes the West’s grittier towns – the ones that aren’t remotely cool, the ones with a certain funk

  • There was no green in this Rainbow gathering

    A rancher whose grazing permit in Colorado’s Routt National Forest was usurped by this year’s Rainbow Family gathering decries the environmental damage left in its wake

  • Empty pods and pleasant graveyards

    In today’s surrealistic world, where language exists only to sell things, barren desert suburbs have names like "Lake Forest" and "WillowDale," while a graveyard is called "Pleasant Valley Cemetery."

  • Between the body and the world

    The creepy glamour of the scientific exhibit Body Worlds 2 – which showcases actual preserved sections of human bodies – never answers the question of how – and where– these people lived

  • Science vs. science fiction — get it straight

    The decision of the Association of Petroleum Geologists to give novelist Michael Crichton its "Journalist of the Year" award for his anti-global warming thriller State of Fear can only increase public cynicism about science and scientists

  • Repo Manic

    The author takes a disconcerting journey with a repo-man friend to repossess a car somewhere in Navajo Country

  • Isn't it time to bury the hatchet?

    Tired of the rhetorical arguments that pass as conversation these days, the author proposes it’s time to take a blockhead to lunch – and listen to what he has to say

  • Mute, riven, blessed

    All over the West, white roadside crosses and spontaneous, humble shrines mark the holy sites where the souls of human beings have left this world

  • Waypoints of the heart

    The new hobby of geocaching gives the author and her husband an excuse to explore Wyoming with a GPS while seeking to decode small human mysteries

  • Washing our hands

    The writer tells of an unexpected encounter with Interior Secretary Gale Norton, and the conversation that ensued

  • The trouble with the Endangered Species Act is us

    The Endangered Species Act isn’t broken; we just don’t like to enforce it

  • Fishering

    In a part of Oregon where everybody says there have been no fishers for years, the writer stumbles across one of these rare and beautiful animals

  • In hunting camp, the closet is closed

    A "gay, wolf-loving, tree-hugging former Marine" writes about Brokeback Mountain, elk hunting, and his own lifelong experience with shame and prejudice

  • Waiting for Rain

    The hurricanes in the Gulf and New Mexico’s endless drought lead the author to wonder why it is human beings refuse to take nature seriously

  • The many problems of Richard Pombo

    California Republican Rep. Richard Pombo is having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year

  • Living with the ghosts of the Indian Wars

    Montana’s "Custer Country" is a region haunted by the ghosts of the Indian Wars, where towns are still named for the so-called "heroes’ responsible for massacres such as Wounded Knee

  • The unbearable triteness of skiing

    Being a non-skier in a skiing-obsessed state like Utah is a lot like being a vegetarian in a slaughterhouse

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