25 July 20XX
My Dear Lucilius:
My apologies for the delay in writing. For the first time in years, I took a vacation.
Yes yes, I understand – you have often commented that my whole life at this point seems to be one long vacation of doing what I want to do – fair enough, I have often said the same thing myself. But I made the decision – right after the refugees I informed you of in the last letter – to make a trip to some of the places I love here that are farther away.
Yellowstone – You remember Yellowstone of course, we went there on your last visit. I had a longing to go there again – not so much for the natural wonders (as amazing as they are, of course) as for the buffalo. And I found both – and the park strangely deserted. Where before there were literally thousands of cars there were merely tens of them. I had no problem or issue getting anywhere or seeing anything I desired. The buffalo were there, placidly moving in their herds the way they did long before Westerners ever arrived.
The other place I needed to go, of course, was the Little Bighorn.
The monument was even more deserted than I had expected – it was myself and two other people, wandering among the headstones of the US Calvary and Sioux Warriors. The grass was brown and dry and blew in the wind, perhaps like it did almost 150 years ago. The wind whispered the voices of warriors of both sides, long dead, watching.
In a very meaningful way, these sorts of trips were walks into a past that was rapidly approaching into our future.
These were day trips for me of course, and I am sure that you will wonder at the wanton waste of fuel for each of them. I somewhat wonder at it myself – but comfort myself with the thought that I do not know when, if ever, I will be able to go again. At least they can now always live in my memory.
Your Obedient Servant, Seneca