a big sky …

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… in southern Wyoming.

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the storm …

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Sometimes when you’re driving in the West, you see a thunderstorm. It’s far off, still nascent, an indistinct dark smudge on the horizon perhaps a hundred miles away.

In the East, you don’t see a storm so far ahead. That’s because you can’t see the fullness of the storm until it’s literally over your head. In the East, the sky is smaller — topography, tall buildings, and trees obscure the horizon.

In the West, you keep driving toward that still-small gray mass. You look to the side through the driver’s window and see blue sky dotted with puffy cumulus clouds. You look out the passenger window; you see the same pastoral placidity. There’s psychological comfort in those little white pearls floating in the blue sky beside you. But in front of you?

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storm …


Actually, three storms converging. In many places in the West, the entire storm can be seen. Here, driving through south-central Wyoming, I saw five — yes, five — thunderstorms in the sky around me. Out here, the sky is so, so big …