I started a new writing project yesterday.
I didn’t start start it yesterday. Technically, this story was conceived back in the summer of 2001 while I was driving a carload of my stuff from Nebraska to the West Coast.
I was in Wyoming. It was early evening and for two hours I had watched a wall of dark clouds move in from the southwest. I was in the mountains, somewhere along the Continental Divide, when the storm hit. Torrents of water and buckets of hail and, my God, the lightning. I had sense enough to slow down but not to stop. Going around a curve, I looked off to the right, over the railing, and down to the desert valley below, and I saw several lightning strikes all at once. I feared God in that moment.
In the next moment, I asked a question that set the writing project in motion: I am in a car – mostly protected from the elements, but also separated in a profound way from them – and this storm causes me to fear God; how did the perceptions of God of earlier generations (Indians, pioneers, homesteaders) reflect their more intimate connection with this fierce landscape?… Read the rest