MONTEZUMA COUNTY, Colo. — Halfway through a 20-mile ride with a friend, taking our horses down a canyon in southwest Colorado, I chose to expound confidently on a topic I thought I knew. My friend listened from the saddle as he looked through the trees. He smiled and seemed to ponder my words as they spilled out. When I wrapped up the treatise, all he said was, “Hmm.”
It wasn’t long — maybe a week later — when I realized I’d been foolish and hasty in my understanding of the facts. I confessed as much to my friend. He said, “Oh?”
In the rural West, quiet reserve is an essential skill and a fading art form, lost on people, like me, who rush to react and to be heard. Inevitably, it is rapidly losing ground to a louder, vainer way of being.