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“Mulling over my past, back beyond all the English novels and French poems and time in Paris, I remembered that I’d been a cowgirl growing up, catching bluebelly lizards, riding horses, and daydreaming impartially about Indians and any other culture living off the kind of land I knew, and in those days my daydreams fit my territory. I realized that I’d spent my adult life living in the West as though it were an outpost of Europe, that I had alwyas looked at it as a flawed copy of the original, and like the first white emigrants, longed for ruins, stories, and marks of my own ancestry, had lived in the West facing east.

“For almost a decade I lived in a city where it never snowed without my realizing that every drop from my faucets was snowmelt, sucked out of a valley of legendary beauty that had been drowned by a dam. I realized then that I’d been living in a war zone my whole life without noticing the wars, since they didn’t match any of the categories in which I’d been instructed. I realized too that rather than trace my culture back to Europe I might look at the ways that it had mutated, invaded, hybridized, mixed with the vastly different ecology and cultures of the West, and shaped and warped the vision of those making land policy and living on the land out here.”

– Rebecca Solnit, Savage Dreams


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