Lauren's husband has left her, presumably for a temporary separation, and she accepted custody of Keller's son by another woman, a drug addict. Keller is conveniently unavailable as he is working on the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "Fucking perfect: we're both cleaning up someone else's mess."
Lauren takes the boy, Jonah, to Idaho where she grew up and her mother still lives. She takes a job as a fire lookout where she and Jonah live an isolated summer.
The major theme, for me, is that we are ultimately alone even as we spend a great deal of effort in an attempt not to be alone. We also see how a woman's lack of self-esteem has not played well for her.
I enjoyed learning some details about the task of being a fire lookout and liked the story very much.
"Long Tom Lookout" was first published in Idaho Review and then selected for inclusion in the 2014 Best American Short Stories.
"Wildflowers bloom without worry."