Newt was surprised. The Captain never shared his decisions with him, and yet it seemed that the decision to leave had just been made, right there, behind the wagon.
“Captain,” he asked, “how far is it, up north?”
“Well, north is not a place, Newt. It’s a direction,” the Captain answered. It struck Call they should have educated the boy a little better. — Lonesome Dove
“Up north,” may be a direction but “out west” is indeed a place. Oh there is not a dead black line that can define it but “out west” is anywhere that is far enough from the East to be out from under it and those folks who spend a lot of their time trying to out-suffer one another it seems.
No, it begins when a soul can find elbow room and freedom; wherever he can escape from crowds and the obsession of their strange superstitions; wherever he has space to stand erect and must stand because he will and not because he is so wedged in that he could not fall down if he tried.
“Out west” is a place where a man alone can find direction. There’s freedom here in this place so blessed by a landscape the likes of which exist nowhere else. There’s freedom to really explore the land and one’s soul and the relationship between the two. There is that kind of exploration here that is deeply rooted in history. There is that kind of exploration here that teaches you that you cannot change who you are but that what you are is always changing. I hope we never lose the cowboy ethic and allow the wrecking of the best of the last, best places.