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Postcard from the Past: Indian Summer

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Dick Perue

Indian Summer is my favorite time of year and has been portrayed in many ways by most of the pioneer newspapers in Wyoming. First, from the Sept. 28, 1907 issue of The Wyoming Press:

The delightful period of Indian Summer this year has excited considerable attention, and at the same time has maintained the reputation of Wyoming for having the greatest climate on Earth. 

When the air is languid like summer and yet the thermometer shows summer clothes are out of season; when you are at peace with all the world, forgetting even to register a “kick” against the gas bill, it’s Indian Summer.

They have kept on calling it this from the force of an old habit, because the season was first noticed in this country, when Native Americans were then supreme over the great Northwest.

The air is so still, the smoke and fine particles of dust float in the air, while on the hills in the distance the haze is like the smoke of a faraway prairie fire.

Indian Summer in Wyoming is an inspiration and delight. It will continue for a long period – the clear blue sky serving to indicate it will be many weeks before the great Northwest sweeps the face of the sungod, leaving it yellow and clear and scatters the mist in the hills, clearing away for real winter.

They have called it “Indian Summer,” and it will continue to be called this because there is no better name for it.

An article in the Wyoming Industrial Journal of Nov. 1, 1908, gives this description of Indian Summer in Albany County:

October has been like a chapter in a story book. Warm, bright days with sometimes a fleecy cloud flecking the sky, and now the haze of Indian Summer softening the rugged peaks and again the air so clear as to enable the eye to reach the remotest points, and always the air so charged with ozone as to make breathing an act of thoughtful delight. 

Just now there is a trifle of snow on the more distant hills, and the air has taken on a slightly sharper note, yet little freezing even at night and no storms.

And, from the  Sept. 24, 1921 issue of The Casper Daily Tribune comes this timely poem:

Indian Summer Days

Oh how I love our Indian Summer days,

those sweet, cool days that come with early fall,

when geese and ducks follow their leader’s call

winging to the southland in great relays.

And the hills are robed with a purple haze,

while the sun sinks in the West a flaming ball

casting weird shadows through the trees, so tall

and slender, as the horizon is ablaze.

The waterfall on the mountainside sings

its good night lullaby; the gray wolf calls

to his mate; the cattle low, a horse neighs,

and the grouse nestle closer in the windfalls

as the ending of the day darkness brings.

Oh how I love our Indian Summer days.

– E. Richard Shipp.

Casper, Sept. 24, 1921

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