Sometimes you read a story and everything about it is in harmony—narrative, character, setting, emotion, and insight. Such is the case with Peter Richmond's 1990 tribute to Lane Frost. I'll get out of the way now and let you appreciate it for yourself:
Some don't join the diaspora to the cities, to fill up the buildings and prowl the gray streets. Some decide to stay behind and work the land, and to work with the land—to live on it and play on it, dwarfed by its permanence, and secure in it. Because there is always this about the land, about prairie and pond and mountain: they never go away. Beneath a roof of sky, yesterday and tomorrow always have a great deal in common. And to live here, planted on the planet's surface, so that you can sense the roll of the seasons and taste in them time's renewal, is, inevitably, to feel some of that same permanence for yourself.
Perhaps this is why, one full year after Lane Frost died with a bull's horn through his heart in the mud of a rodeo arena, his death is still so tangible and his absence so conspicuous—why his memory is not only unfaded, but growing more substantial: because the permanence has been rended against all reason and expectation, against all of the flows and currents.
Perhaps this is why his parents and widow and best friend still receive letters from people who have written songs about Lane Frost, and poems, and named children after him, and why strangers show up on their doorsteps to talk about him. Perhaps this is why his image now appears in a country music video alongside Martin Luther King and John Wayne. And why thousands of people will visit the memorial display at the Cheyenne Frontier Days this week, to touch the unimaginably soft leather glove, caked with resin, that Lane Frost wore on his last ride, and to caress the heavy blue leather chaps, a few yards from the dirt in which he died.
[Illustration by EqUiNeArTiStFoReVeR]