What is the West?

Barbara Richardson

"The West is burning. Its wrath is an expression of our own." 


The West is magpies and locusts, softly mentholated pine duff and the hot clove scent of woods rose. Home to thunderstorms rare and large, tribes vast and hidden, ant colonies, trickling streams, alpine ponds, blizzards, aspen shake, cottonwood snags, sagebrush galaxies under a three-quarter moon. Beavers in tandem going with the flow. Breezes uncounted. Meadowlark song. Snowberry, chokecherry, twinberry, elderberry—would that we had elders in power wise enough to preserve them.


The West does not need us. Tagged with human impact, the real West goes on.






Barbara Richardson's novel Tributary won the 2013 Utah Book Award in fiction.