drove out of town, stopping for a six-packrnof beer and a bag of ice from a coneniencernstore in West Laramie.rnYon could pull a horse trailer np JelmrnMountain, I suppose, but what would bernthe point in doing it? I parked the rig besidernthe two-track near the base of the hillrnand rode horseback as far as the shoulderrnmidway up. Wc left the road and continuedrnon across a sagebrush park to the linernof woods where the mountain drops offrnsteeply through the trees to the southwest,rngiving a view of the Laramie Riserrnwinding out of the Medicine Bow Mountainsrnand the snowy peaks away down inrnColorado. The mare, fat and out ofrnshape from the long winter, blew hardrnwhile I removed the saddle and bridlernand snubbed her with a long rope to arnredbark pine tree. From the saddlebags Irntook a bottle of still-cold beer and ThernShort Stories of Ernest Hemingway andrncarried diem over to a larger tree, where 1rnsat with my back against the roughbarkedrntrunk to drink beer and read thernMichigan stories b’ Hemingway.rnOn a fishing trip in die Upper Peninsularnof Michigan, I was skunked by Paparna few years ago. The Big Two-LIeartedrnRiver is on the map all right, so I packedrnin my fly rod and flics and drove oxerrnthere from St. Ignacc. Phougli I found itrneasily enough, the river didn’t look at allrndie way Hemingway had described it. Insteadrnof being wide and fast-moving andrnopen and sunny, it was narrow andrnclosed-in and dark, teacolored from tannicrnacid and with a murky bottom inrnplace of a sandy one. I tried the water forrnan hour anyway and came away eiiiplvhanded,rnleaving three or four trout flies inrnthe branches overhanging the oppositernshore and a generous blood donationrnwith the native mosquito population.rnLater, I learned that Hie river Hemingwayrnactually describes is called the Fox River.rnBut, since the Big Two-Hearted name fitrnLIBERAL ARTSrnFINDING TRUTH IN THErnODDEST PLACESrn”[]]f sterling character were the mainrnguide to greatness, all .America wouldrnforuially couiiueuiorate the Ijirthdayrnof Robert E. Lee instead of the birthdayrnof Martin Luther King, Jr.”rn—from Sean Wilentz,rn”America Made Juisy”rn(l^e\RcpMc.july2,Z0(h)rnthe theme of the stories exactly, he rearrangedrnrealit}’ some 40 miles by appropriatingrnit to his literary purpose. I’vernnever seen it mentioned, but the closestrnthing to an explanation of wli)’ Heming-rn\a)’ lived most of his life as an expatriaternis in Carlos Baker’s Letters, where as earlyrnas the 192()’s or 30’s, he laments thatrnAmerica is being flattened by brdldozcrsrnand covered bv tract houses. Elsewhere,rnHemingway takes comfort in the factrnthat, while the world changes, it does notrnchange as fast as wc do. More dian half arncentury later, it is changing much faster: arncalamitous and tragic thing for Americans,rnand for humanit)’ in general.rnI checked die marc’s rope and took arnhike around the shoulder of the mountain,rnin a hard wind coming up from CJolorado.rnThe wind wasn’t gusting: It poured, steadyrnand full as the current at the bottom of arndeep river, smoothing the mountain andrnwearing it down, like a gray, huge boulderrnsubmerged in the ri’er of time. New greenrngrass sprang in last year’s towheads, and thernmountain lupin was budded. The wind inrnthe pine forest and die clouds oerhcad beingrnpushed by die wind were all onernsound, die sound of the earth turning on itsrnaxis, out of vesterda}’ through toda into tomorrow.rnThe clouds traveled lov- beneathrna high ceiling of blue sky, clear-edged andrnshining, gra on the undersides, and dierernwas little moisture in diem. Perhaps tomorrow,rnwhen dicy returned Irom theirrnoyage around the wodd, swollen with outragernat what they had witnessed, the cloudsrnwould burst in anger, and dicre would bernrain. I struggled up to die ridgeline andrnpaused diere, bracing against die wind, forrna look around. On cither side of the ridge,rna long draw ran stceph’ down to a grassyrnpocket sheltering a stand of tender greenrnaspen trees. From die base of die mountain,rndie Laramie Plain stretched away, stillrngreen under the late spring skv’ except forrndie alternating patches of black, blue, red,rnand white: cloud, water, clay, alkali. Onrndie way dow n to camp, die long pine needlesrnand fat pine cones criuiched underfoot,rnadding their dust to die diin laver ofrnsoil covering the mountain rock. Suchrndrought, so much wind, made a cookfirernimpossible.rnI rode the mare back dovn die mountainrnand loaded her in the trailer, wonderingrnwhat was for supper at the Egolfs’.rnFrom Jelm Mountain to Barber LakernRoad west of Centennial isn’t that manyrnmiles bv the backroads. At the old timberedrnlodge, die kids fished for trout fromrna raft while Jamie sat out on die balconyrnoerlooking the high-water creek. Sherncalled down to say I was in time for arndrink, and welcome to stay for teriyakirnchicken if I had no odier pkiiis. I didn’trnhave an’ beyond die botde of red winernon die front seat of the truck, so I broughtrndiat up with me when I joined her on thernbalcony, and we both had a drink, sittingrnunder die stirring American flag at therntop of its pole in the smoke from the citronellarncandle and feeling the heat drawrnquickly from the thin air. The red winerntasted wonderful after the beer.rn”Did you go into town for church today?”rnI asked Jamie.rn”No. I didn’t. We’ve been working allrnda}’, painhng the lodge. I’m exhaustedrnnow. How about you? Did you go tornchurch?”rn”Yes, I went to Mass.”rn”Did your voice vork all right thisrnmoniing?”rn”It worked okay. You wouldn’t havernmistaken me for Jirssi Bjorling, though.”rnEvening shadow crept upward fromrnthe base of die treeline across the creekrnuntil the tops of the pines flamed likernsupper candles. We pulled on jacketsrnagainst the chill and Sarah and Katie andrnBen came in from the river and warmedrnthemselves widi red wine. All three attendrnEarlham College, a Quaker schoolrnin Indiana founded in 1847, so diere arerncertain things we don’t talk about. I haverndie impression diey believe the world isrngrow: iup better day bv da, in even’ w’lrnIn almost ever wa’. It’s a good va’ tornfeel if-s’ou’re 21 years old. The alternative,rnprobably, is madness followed brnearly deadi, like Hamlet.rnSo we didn’t discuss anydiing seriousrnbut told bad jokes instead —the morerninane the better —and laughed a lot,rndrinking wine. After a while, Jamie andrnSarah brought supper up from thernkitchen downstairs, and we ate teriyakirnchicken, rice, and a green salad, withrnmore wine — a good white this time.rnNow the light was all gone from therncreek bottom and from the mountainsidernmost of the way up, and the clouds overheadrnwere a qiuet pink, no brightness leftrnin diem, just the pretty color reflected inrna back-eddy of the creek. It had been arnloveK Sunday, out here in die Americanrnhinterland, and now it was Hnie to runrnthe flag down the pole. “This is nice,” Irntold Jamie. And left it at that, whilernthinking, “The world changes. Y’ou can’trntell et from here, but right now it’srnchanging even fiister flian ‘ou are.”rn50/CHRONICLESrnrnrn