Despondent Falls, Wyoming

Last week, I had an incredibly vivid dream that I traveled to the mountain town of Despondent Falls, Wyoming*. When I say mountain town, I mean the really scenic stuff all covered in healthy green moss and windblown tallgrass surrounding a tidy and charming village.  I had gone to Despondent Falls with my daughter to meet up with a friend of mine and her little girl. And yes, there was a waterfall that cascaded in thin sheets all the way down from the top of one very emerald green cliff. I remember staring at it at nighttime, head held skyward with my hand wrapped around Elle’s. For some reason, I left Despondent Falls before DeAnna and her daughter made it into town and I only realized this after I had returned to Oklahoma. I tried desperately to find a way back to the falls, to no avail. My emotional memory from this dream was the sobering sadness I felt while I stood in my kitchen unable to get back to her.

This is not an odd dream to me. If DeAnna and I lived closer to each other now, we would have probably taken on Atlanta, Knoxville, or coastal North Carolina this summer. Maybe we’d have even given Asheville another try. She and I used to decide about a month in advance which city to visit. The only other planning that happened after that was booking a hotel with a pool for our kids and crossing our fingers for good weather. She would drive in from Rock Hill, South Carolina and I would make my way over from Jacksonville. My dream was a clever little reminder of how much I love visiting a new city during a long, three-day weekend.

My dream about the town of Despondent Falls was probably my inner self’s crafty little way of telling me to find new places and go out and explore them with new people. I am only a long day’s drive from Denver or Santa Fe or even San Antonio, my birthplace. I am not sure why my subconscious named my town something so gloomy and dispirited, though, as it seemed a perfectly quaint and happy place to be.

Anyway, the first thing I did when I woke up was try to remember as much as I could about the dream and this town, what it looked like and smelled like and felt like. Then I looked up Despondent Falls, Wyoming to see if such a place even exists. Alas, there is no Despondent Falls, Wyoming and I was genuinely disappointed by this discovery. (Also, I had just watched The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and had recently taken a photographic journey to Norway via my friend’s Facebook page before this dream happened so I’m sure that would explain the look of this town.)

In lieu of my dream’s scenery, my friend Ingrid graciously allowed me to use her photographs to better show off the old world and picturesque real-version of my dream town, Despondent Falls. It’s kind of ridiculous that such an enchanting place exists in our world, isn’t it? It also exists in dreams.






There has been talk of Matt driving us to Colorado in the winter, of plunking me in front of a fireplace with a mug of hot cocoa and a good book while he and kiddo play outside in the snow. I have also mentioned spending a few days on the Gulf Coast and hearing the ocean again, seagulls and waves and the coastal winds blowing so strongly that it blocks out everything else. And then there is camping in the Oklahoma mountains when the trees turn colors and the days turn cooler. There has been talk of all those things, of all those places. And it is usually me saying, “No, no, I don’t have time – school work, research, assignments blahblahblah,” leaving me to have to dream of places instead.

I know. I don’t like the way that sounds, either. And soon…soon, adventuring we will go.

(Thank you, Ingrid, for sharing your photographs. Norway is breathtakingly beautiful.)


8 thoughts on “Despondent Falls, Wyoming

    • Unbelievable! isn’t it strange the things we dream up only to find out they might actually exist. Thank you for this intro to Shell Falls. I think it’s beautiful!

  1. This is beautiful and very visual (even before the photographs). My take? Your brain is trying to tell you it’s okay to let go, that you have your daughter with you and that’s Home. Getting (to your new) home and realizing you left without DeAnna, the desperation (despondence?) of realizing you missed her (missed her, see?) and being unable to return – that’s all telling you home isn’t where you were, it’s where you are. It’s the fear that you won’t be able to go back again, but realizing how beautiful NOW can be while you’re fully in it; it’s only when you think about what you left behind that it becomes stressful.

    Then again, I’m no shrink; that may be complete hooey! (But it feels right.) Trust yourself enough to let yourself appreciate the beauty of the freefall, head up, holding hands with your life.

    • I love your interpretation! It could very well have been my brain telling me to move forward. And another commenter just told me about Shell Falls, Wyoming. It looks like my dream, so maybe I was close!

      However, I’m beginning to feel like I’ve conquered the Southeast…now it’s time to go explore the Plains. Exciting times are ahead!

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