Lee Child

The brilliance of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ slogan

[Getty Images]

Four years ago, I bought a ranch in Wyoming. Not that I was tired of New York, but I’m fascinated by the epic scale of this country, and I wanted to try something different. And different it is. The state of Wyoming is physically larger than the UK, but has much less than a hundredth of the UK’s population. I have to drive ten miles before I see a paved road. I stop there to pick up my mail, from a locked box on the shoulder. From there I have a choice of two supermarkets, one 40 miles north, the other 60 miles south. But distances are relative here. I told my friend C.J. Box, the great Wyoming writer, that I was moving, and where. ‘We’ll be neighbours,’ he said. ‘Really?’ I replied. I thought I must have misread the map. ‘Close enough for dinner,’ he said. ‘It’s only 105 miles each way.’ And we’ve done it many times, a 210-mile round trip. But only in summer. The road over the Snowy Mountains is closed eight months of the year, because of, well, snow. Wyoming gets a lot of it. We got two feet on 9 June. Last year the final fall was 23 June. Then comes a quick and lovely summer, officially measured from the last frost to the first. The shortest on record is 11 days, but in my experience about 15 weeks is typical. From late June to early October it’s entirely delightful. Wildflowers are everywhere, and frolicking chipmunks and rabbits, and soaring raptors and busy hummingbirds, and deer and antelope, and elk, moose, coyotes, mountain lions and bears. But almost no people.

Lockdown has been statistically unnerving. I have been in the same bed under the same roof for 125 nights, which is my longest unbroken stretch since… when? Certainly 25 years ago, when I became a writer.

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