the state flower …


… of Wyoming, insists Google. This specimen sits on the Nevada-Oregon border along Route 140 near Antelope Butte.


Nevada …


If you drive along I-80 in northern Nevada in the USA, this is what you repeatedly see: shadows of clouds on the mountains, virga (rain that doesn’t hit the ground), and isolated farms or resource-extraction sites.

the storm …


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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