magical nights + assimilating

After coming back from Massachusetts in December, something has been different. I don't talk about "back East" as much as I used to--the strong pangs of homesickness, which used to strike at the most inopportune of times, don't come. There's nostalgia, sure, and I miss my friends and family, of course, but it's not how it used to be. Somewhere along the line, without realizing it, I embraced living in Wyoming, and things have been very good since then. I've assimilated.

The past month has been busy, and I've stepped away from ~the internet~ quite a bit, and this little space has been quiet, but it's time to share some images from a particularly magical Saturday night.

Driving to Centennial in the dark feels like driving on a road in the middle of the ocean. On either side of the road is inky, navy-black nothingness--it's near impossible to judge where you are, exactly. The only source of light are car headlights, and on that Saturday, they illuminated the icy asphalt. Blowing snow drifted across the road, as thin as tissue paper, whipping around the car. I held onto my steering wheel, white-knuckled, and said Hail Mary's out loud, radio in the background, to keep my mind occupied, crawling along at 30 mph as more experienced Wyoming drivers passed me with ease.

Earlier in the day, the "poker run," a cross-country skiing // snowshoeing extravaganza that including copious amounts of alcohol had occurred, and I was driving out to catch the live music that closed out the day and ferry friends back to Laramie.

Centennial is a tiny town that tumbles down a hill, resting at the foot of the Snowy Range Scenic Byway. It's where the western lifestyle meets the hippie one, a strange amalgation of cultures, that is ramshackle, rustic, wild. The bars are wood-paneled and dimly lit, with animal heads on the walls--that Saturday, they were packed with drunk, sweaty college kids, ski bums, and occasional "adult."

I found my friends enjoying a band in the Beartree cafe, where we split a Mexican pizza and carefully observed the crowd--after that, we headed to a bar connected to the "Friendly Store," which was also a gas station [because, why not?] In a small room with walls covered with landscape paintings, colored lights tinting the room, we swayed to the sounds of Elk Tongue, a local 70's rock style band.

Claire and I headed out around nine--it was snowing, softly, or maybe the wind was just blowing it around, I'm not sure. It was bitterly cold, and I drove back. It wasn't as scary as when I drove there--maybe because the weather was better, maybe because the wind was blowing the opposite direction, maybe because I was used to it.

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