Ehrlich, Gretel, “To Live in Two Worlds: Crow Fair and Sun Dance”, “The Solace of Open Spaces” (Viking 1985)

Implicated as we westerners are in this sperm, blood, and guts business of ranching, and propelled forward by steady gusts of blizzards, cold fronts, droughts, heat, and wind, there’s a ceremonial feel to life on a ranch. It’s raw and impulsive, but the narrative thread of birth, death, chores, and seasons keep tugging at us until we find ourselves braided inextricably into the strand. So much in American life has had a corrupting influence on our requirements for social order. We live in a culture that has lost its memory. Very little in the specific shapes and traditions of our grandparents’ pasts instructs us how to live today, or tells us who we are or what demands will be made on us as members of society (103).

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