Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Inner Cowboy

I waffled about the title. Should I say "Inner Cowgirl"? Or perhaps the gender-neutral "Inner Cowherd"? No, I'll stick with the inaccurate and politically incorrect "Cowboy"— because it's the word to use when describing the TV series "Lonesome Dove," last weekend's escape fare.

I can't get the show or its theme song out of my head, even though I've watched it before and read the book it was based on. It's same effect every time — one of enlargement, and even (despite the tragedies that beset the cattle drive from Texas to Montana) of joy.  It's the characters and their quest.  It's the frontier, the heartbeat of a nation. And it's the sweeping views of rivers and plains and buttes and valleys.

As national myths go, it's not a bad one, though it has certainly gotten us into trouble: the rugged individualist wedded to guns and glory. But if offers to the suburban commuter some sense of elemental wholeness, of a time when life was harder but perhaps truer. I could be all wrong on this, though. It could just be my inner cowboy talking.

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