The crown of fire that rings Warm Springs Creek is a foreboding diadem, perhaps a shot across our bow.
Every morning we wake to the hazy, aster dawns and softened sun of a Russell Chatham landscape. The smoke re-awakens and underlines a waft of thought that echoes from Stegner to Rembert. The party's over.
What we are doing here, the way we are living, cannot and will not continue for long.
Americans have always imposed their dreams on the West, and each wave, from the trappers to the '49ers, the ranchers, the libertarians, the Mormons, brought a new dream to this to this promised land. This latest one, Vice President Dick Cheney's "American way of life," is the least sustainable of all.
This cornucopia of plenty that we're extracting from this sparse, economical land just speeds the transition from dream to nightmare. We've imposed the improbable on the unforgiving, and this is our last stand, our last dream.