It's interesting the things that you remember. I remember hearing about Matthew Shepard when I was in high school, I remember when 'The Laramie Project', was first presented while I was in college, and yet, I never saw the play until last winter.
For those who may not remember, Matthew Shepard was a college student at the University of Wyoming, and was murdered by two peers because he was gay. They left him tied to a fence, where he remained for over 18 hours until he was discovered by a cyclist the following day. He never came out of his coma.
Visiting the site of the murder seemed a little bit morbid, but after seeing 'The Laramie Project', (which is a play based on interviews from townspeople after the murder) with my friends in The Loft, I felt that it would be nice to bring a little gift to the area letting Matthew's spirit know that things are getting better.
What struck me the most was the drive to the site. As I was driving, I started to get really anxious because I was thinking about how scared Matthew must have been and how unnecessarily angry his peers were. When I got within a mile, I actually had to stop for a moment to take a breath. I picked up a little stone and wrote a note to Matthew from The Loft and from me, (we shared a stone), and I forced myself back in the car.
I pulled up to the site according to the directions that I had and was surprised and relieved to see that the fence was gone. I wasn't sure how I was going to react to seeing the actual wood. While Matthew died in the remote outskirts of the city, Laramie has grown a lot since 1998, so I was on a dirt road, but there were houses nearby. Because these families live there - they've changed the street names and forbidden any kind of marker.
So I just pulled up to a beautiful Wyoming plain. If you didn't know the history, you'd take a photo anyway, just because it is so pretty.
So after leaving our stone of hope, I got the anxious feeling again - I was standing where something really evil happened - and for a moment I was completely focused on that. During my moment of sadness I heard a sound behind me, which TOTALLY freaked me out, but it was just a pair of antelopes! The girl ran off, but I whistled, and the boy turned and looked at me quickly before taking off. It was a moment of much needed levity and peace.
In the midst of an amazing summer that includes a beautiful guitar camp and super fun shows, you might think that I'm crazy to focus on something so negative, but if we forget, what will happen?