Two weekends ago, my partner and I took a trip out to Great Basin National Park...the country's least visited park on the nation's "Loneliest Highway."
It was spectacular. Not in terms of scenery or breathtaking vistas, though it has those too, but more in terms of solitude.
We camped in the Baker Creek campground, which had about 15 of the 40-some sites filled both nights we stayed. No one camped within earshot of our conversations.
We hiked up to the gnarled bristlecone pines and got a good glimpse of thousands of years of history. From there, we could see the basin stretched out in front of us, a barren landscape of brown and green, dotted with an occasional steadfast ranch.
We ate in the town of Baker, at a place owned and operated by some San Francisco natives that make fresh ravioli every day. The town is home to about 337 people, at least one of which is gay, as evidenced by the rainbow sticker in the window of his cafe and shop. Another gay-friendly shop-owner was located across the dusty Main Street, and she flew a rainbow flag in honor of equality, and her son.
It's a laid-back, lazy kind of place, with a wholesome feeling about it. My partner and I, for a few minutes, thought "hey, we could live here." She could work for the Park Service, I could work from home, or work at one of the cafe's or galleries, or work for the Park Service.
I imagined a life where I had to make my own music because the only radio stations that come in out there are Country and Gospel. I imagined lazy days on the front porch, writing or painting. I imagined close friendships with people who knew us and accepted us for what we are.
Then, I realized we already have these things. We have close friendships with good people, both gay and straight, who accept us and love us and would do anything to help us should we need it. I have the ability to write or paint or be lazy on my own front porch (which I own!). I can make my own music even if I can tune in to any kind of music I would ever want to listen to.
I realized how much I love the west. The fact that I can live in a metropolitan area with good food, good music, Farmer's Markets and Arts Festivals, with streets and streets of people that would love and accept us if only they knew us. And the fact that, should we tire of the city, we can escape only a few hours away to the Basin, or to the Arch or the Canyon, or to the geysers of Yellowstone.
We live in a spectacular place, surrounding by spectacular vista's and breathtaking views, and beautiful solitude.