Sniffin

Bill Sniffin

Wyoming columnist

So, there I was, standing around some odd juniper trees that were all twisted and turned in odd shapes — I was in the middle of a vortex.

Well heck, it seems like we all have been in the middle of a vortex during this crazy year of 2020.

That’s it! The year 2020 is the “Year of the Vortex.”

Nancy and I were standing next to these twisted juniper trees outside Sedona, Arizona, recently trying to feel the natural energy of the earth streaming up from the ground and entering our bodies.

We were a long way from Wyoming, but the surroundings looked familiar. We were in high desert country, surrounded by red mountains, mesas, buttes, and knolls.

Sedona is a beautiful and busy place. Its traffic reminded me of Jackson Hole. A whole lot of people have discovered this place and were coming to this valley from all over the world. If not coming for the vortices, then for the ambience of a beautiful place.

In Wyoming, we know all about beautiful places. And we have thousands of such places from Newcastle to Evanston, and from Powell to Cheyenne. And everywhere in between. All our wonderful spots do not automatically have to include the words Yellowstone or Jackson.

So, what about these vortices?

My late friend Jimmy Smail liked the idea of a vortex and he knew of locations in the Wind River Mountains and the Red Desert that seemed to emit some kind of energy. He took me to many places in the desert where members of ancient Indian tribes created what he called vision circles. They looked like teepee rings, but these always had an opening that did not match up. He felt that was there so swirling energy could come in and go out. Is that true? Heck, who knows. Jimmy was a wise old desert rat and he made a convincing argument.

Earlier in this column, I used the word vortex in a negative way, as a way to describe this crazy year 2020. That was probably wrong. A vortex is about positive energy and enlightenment.

So, with that in mind, maybe we will never figure out what 2020 was all about until sometime in the future. At some point, we will be able to look back at all this with 2020 hindsight and make sense of it.

Right now, making sense of some of this stuff is maddening.

Biggest story of 2020 was and is the international pandemic that started when a virus was unleashed in China in late 2019. The term COVID-19 stands for Corona Virus Disease 2019.

The virus has infected millions worldwide and over 200,000 deaths in the U.S. have been blamed on it.

During our recent visit to Las Vegas, we were stunned to see how that state was enforcing mask wearing. Just about everybody was wearing one. Later in Arizona, everyone also seemed to be wearing masks.

Nancy and I almost always wear our masks and try to protect ourselves and those around us.

History will tell us if it made sense to watch the national economy come crashing down for a disease that kills one out of a hundred. In Wyoming with 570,000 people, we have had 57 deaths. Yes, I know this is a serious and sometimes deadly disease but the statistics are actually telling a different story.

I know. I know. This is a terrible pandemic and we need to be safe. And overreaction is almost always OK when you do not know just how deadly your enemy is.

And then you have this year’s political race. Has there ever been a presidential election with so much going on at the last minute? Too many October Surprises.

First, there was a new Supreme Court justice nominee in Amy Coney Barrett.

Then we saw an overweight President Donald Trump catching COVID-19 at the age of 74 — and he seems to have found a cure that was instant and left no lasting effects?

And next, on the Democrat side, you had Hunter Biden accused of getting millions of dollars from Ukraine and China when his dad was vice-president. Evidence of this came in the final throes of a national election.

Meanwhile our trip is over and we are safely home. Back here in Wyoming, voters are already going to the polls. Soon this campaign season will be over. Thank God.

I just noticed how much the word VOTE is similar to VORTEX. Yup, this has been an odd year all around.

Bill Sniffin is a longtime journalist from Lander and a publisher of Cowboy State Daily. Email: bsniffin@wyoming.com.

(3) comments

pastrez4urinfo

It's been 40 years since living in Lander....and I remeber that taconite mine closure....and you, Billy Sniffen. I am sad and disheartened, but maybe not surprised.....that you have thrown your vote and certain vouchsafe for el tRumpo , somehow the quasi-elected prezzy running ounce again. You enjoin so many others, now, as direct evidence of a failed national educational system. I really thought you knew better......

pastrez4urinfo

once, not ounce....sorry....

pastrez4urinfo

also: Sniffin, not Sniffen....apology again...

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