21 June 2017

Summer Clouds In Motion - Missoula, Montana

"But maybe Leo felt the same shakiness 
when he made it back to Sandusky...And my father, too,
 when he brought me to the Galaxy that first time,
 to show me how to be humble about what we love.

The point is not that you get away from fear, but that 
you move along with it.
 You don't let it freeze you in place."

20 June 2017

Townie Poppies Blooming - Missoula, Montana

"I remember taking my stabilisers off my bike with my dad in the back garden. It was a small little bike, and it was called Poppy, had balloons on it, and was purple."

16 June 2017

View From The Edge - Near Lincoln, Montana

"Out on the edge you see 
all kinds of things you can't 
see from the centre. 
Big, undreamed-of things - the 
people on the edge see them 

- Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

15 June 2017

Plain Intimacy - Near Shelby, Montana

"There was a sense of intimacy 
and exclusion about 
the vast, open plains 
that always 
made her feel at home."

- from The Spider's Web by Margaret Coel, page 218

(By the way, today's oil painting effect is courtesy of PicsArt.)

11 June 2017

09 June 2017

Handsome Pastures - Near Ovando, Montana

"All over the land are vast and handsome pastures, with good grass for cattle, and it strikes me the soil would be very fertile were the country inhabited and improved by reasonable people."

- Alvar N. C. de Vaca (c.1490-c.1557)

06 June 2017

Gas Stop On The Hi-Line - Shelby, Montana

"Go back to sleep. The hour is small.
     A freight train between stations
Shook you out of sleep with all
        Its lonely ululations....

The hour is small. Resume your rest. 
        Tomorrow will be kinder. 
Here comes a freight train nosing west, 
        Pulling the dawn behind her."

Read the full text of this lovely train poem here.

05 June 2017

Long Road Home - Near Ovando, Montana

Walking out to the school bus on childhood weekday mornings, our driveway seemed to be at least a mile long.. We moved from the farm when I was 12, and the first time I drove by our old home as an adult, I realized my younger perspective was rather skewed - a mile was extremely far-fetched. Six-year old eyes - and little legs - see a view entirely their own.

Perspective is an interesting thing. When you're in the middle of your own, it's hard to see any other. Rather along the lines of "can't see the forest for the trees". But if we can draw from other experience - even borrowed will do! - and mentally and emotionally step slightly outside our immediate circumstance, we see a bigger picture that is often less dire than we'd first supposed. And this can, in turn, inform our next choices with an entirely different, brighter light. 
Enact, pause, repeat. 
And be reminded how this living and learning requires time and grace!

04 June 2017

Big Sky Reflections - Near Browns Lake, Montana

The fishing access sign just up the road announced three miles to Browns Lake, where it's reported by those who know such things that "...Trolling is best done using weighted flies such as Wooly Worms and standard spoons and spinners." But shore anglers can find success with marshmallows and cheese. Bring some graham crackers and chocolate and you'll be set for the campfire, too.

02 June 2017

Latest Greatest Discovery - Missoula, Montana

Eureka! Split scoops are available on a sugar cone!

For the ice cream novice, a split scoop means you avoid the agony of decision when you really, really  want two flavours but only want a single scoop's worth of ice cream.

For some unknown reason made up on my own pea brain, I always thought this option only was served in a cup.  And - no offense to The Best Hisband Ever and Delightful Daughter - what is the point of ice cream in a cup? There's no dripping that you must hastily - and tastily! - amend, no satisfying crunches, no perfect miniature cone at the very end that you eat in one bite....Especially when Sweet Peaks has the most delicious, pointy sugar cones? (They also offer the soft-serve style  cone, which takes me back to my Baba's house where ice cream always tasted better served in a flat-bottom cone.)

Featured flavours are Chocolate Sorbet (dark chocolate with a subtle undertone of coconut) and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam (with homemade jam - I'm not making this up!). 

(Notice the big bite marks: 
   "My, what lovely teeth you have, my dear!"
   "The better to eat you with!!" 
   Munch munch munch!)

28 May 2017

Staircase And Storytelling - Missoula, Montana

"As we get older, we demand stories that go somewhere. ...Storytelling isn’t an Escher staircase."

 - Dave Morris, from an essay published 4/18/2015 here at  The Bookseller 

26 May 2017

Snow Survivors - Missoula, Montana

Local wisdom warns that it's not safe, weather-wise, to set out bedding plants before Memorial Day, but these Gerbera daisies made it through last week's snow and have peeked up rather nicely.

25 May 2017

Waking Sprig - Missoula, Montana

"...Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind..."

- from Lost In the Forest by Pablo Neruda  (1904-1973)

Read the rest of this tasty poem here.

24 May 2017

Unrushed River - Clark Fork River, Paradise, Montana

"There is no rushing a river. 
When you go there, you go at the pace of the water
 and that pace ties you into a flow that is
 older than life on this planet. 
Acceptance of that pace, even for a day,
 changes us, reminds us of other rhythms beyond
 the sound of our own heartbeats."

 -- Jeff Rennicke, from River Days: Travel on Western Rivers

23 May 2017

From The Shoreline - Rainbow Lake, Montana

"...Meanwhile the sun and the
   clear pebbles of the rain  
are moving across the landscapes, 
   over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers. 
Meanwhile the wild geese, 
    high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again. 

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination, 
   calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting- 
over and over announcing your place 
   in the family of things." - from Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

21 May 2017

Westward Ho! - Missoula, Montana

These long, lovely days leading into summer provoke cogitation of road trips. 
What gorgeous sights can we drive to in these four (currently) extra hours of daylight?!

"...It's opener there
 in the wide open air...."

- from Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Suess 

19 May 2017

Springtime In The Rockies - Missoula, Montana

Last week in Missoula, MT: 70+ degrees Fahrenheit.

Earlier this week: Snow.
(I kid you not - you're looking at it right here!)

And that, my fine people, is the truth about springtime in the Rockies.

15 May 2017

Wishing For Sky - Missoula, Montana

"All stories are love stories. 
Paul remembered someone famous saying that...All men get the things they love. 
The tragedy of some men is not that they are denied, but that they wish they'd loved something else."

13 May 2017

Pop Colour Clouds - Missoula, Montana

"I know that if odour were visible, as colour is, I'd see the summer garden in rainbow clouds."

 - Robert Bridges (1844-1930)

11 May 2017

Blue Skies - Missoula, Montana

"Blue skies....smilin' at me..." from behind sun-whitened cotton candy wisps of cloud...

We are revelling in these perfect spring days while they last, knowing that more rain is in Western Montana's forecast.

Nothin' but blue skies from now on..."

08 May 2017

Spring Kayaking - Brennan's Wave, Missoula, Montana

"I have never seen a river that I could not love. Moving water . . . has a fascinating vitality. It has power and grace and associations. It has a thousand colors and a thousand shapes, yet it follows laws so definite that the tiniest streamlet is an exact replica of a great river."

 -- Roderick Haig-Brown (1908-1976)

06 May 2017

Soul Food aka Hyacinth - Missoula, Montana

"If thou of fortune be bereft, 
and in thy store there be but left 
two loaves, sell one, and with the 
dole, buy hyacinths to feed thy soul."

 - by John Greenleaf Whittier

05 May 2017

Neighbourly Hyacinths - Missoula, Montana

Sharing is a thing in our neighbourhood. 
Among other things, we share fences, conversation, snow shovelling, the company of cats, and - this week - the  fragrant blooms of hyacinths, while they last.

04 May 2017

Seriously Spring - Missoula, Montana

A fabulous evening for ice cream at Sweet Peaks
(Griz Tracks flavour for me - click here to make your mouth water. Their website indicates ice cream ships every Wednesday to anywhere in the lower 48 United States...just sayin'....)

Next up: a calorie off-setting stroll downtown along the Clark Fork River.

And after that, we finally had supper - legendary Mo Club burgers. 
The Best Husband Ever observed that they are cooking on the same grill as decades ago when his dad ate there as a young man, and the long-time seasoning of the grill contributes to the special taste of their burgers.

A veritable best-of-Missoula evening!

02 May 2017

Subaru Sentiments - Missoula, Montana

Well, there's a sentiment I didn't expect to see on a Subaru wagon in Montana: "H8 WLVS". 

I (literally) Laughed Out Loud reading this license plate at the stoplight - not because the statement itself is ha-ha funny, but because I needed a second reading to get it - only due to the seeming incongruity of its location on the back of this particular vehicle type. Good thing it was a long light. 

Wolves are a contentious topic in Montana, particularly in regions where they've been "reintroduced".  I won't go into the bitter debates and gory details here, but feel free to click on the highlighted text links to get a brief intro. Should you want to delve, a Google search for "wolf debate in Montana" will provide plenty of fodder for deep dinner conversation.

The Subaru drivers we typically see in Montana tend to love the outdoors and everything in it, exuding a 'live and let live' vibe often underscored by a plethora of bumper sticker messages. And a couple of tail-wagging dogs laughing out the back door windows.

So, "H8 WLVS" just didn't fit the stereotype, and my brain stuttered because of that - providing yet another opportunity to laugh at my sometimes silly self. Because I know it really is ridiculously pointless to try and stuff people into a tidy little identity box - no matter what name brand logo said box may be sporting

01 May 2017

Campfire Girls - Paradise, Montana

"You don’t have to say everything to be a light. Sometimes a fire built on a hill will bring interested people to your campfire." 

Shannon L. Alder

(And then there are times you do have to say comes back to being fully present and paying attention. 
But roasting marshmallows is always a splendid idea. 
Good times....)

28 April 2017

Sparkling Opener - Hot Springs, Montana

"Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot."

- Clarence Thomas

(I can attest to this!  Thus, credit - & post-humous thanks - goes to my parents for work promotions over the years!)

27 April 2017

River Running Through - Plains, Montana

"It is only in appearance that time is a river. It is rather a vast landscape and it is the eye of the beholder that moves."

-  Thornton Wilder (1897-1975)

(Hmmm...I may have to chew on this one a while - but it certainly gave me pause...)

26 April 2017

Traveller's Rest - Hot Springs, Montana

"We shall not cease from exploration,
 and the end of all our exploring will be
 to arrive where we started and
 know the place for the first time."

- T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)

(Brain-sparking quote from Eliot's bio at the above text link: "...The only "method," Eliot once wrote, is "to be very intelligent."  ")

25 April 2017

Story Bloom - Missoula, Montana

"I hope you will go out 
 and let stories happen to you, 
and that you will work them, 
 water them with your blood 
and tears 
 and your laughter 
till they bloom, 
 till you yourself burst into bloom."

24 April 2017

Spring Signposts - Missoula, Montana

"...Already in glimpses of the tarnish'd sky
The sun is warm and beckons to the larch...
A million buds but stay their blossoming;
And trustful birds have built their nests amid
The shuddering boughs, and only wait to sing
Till one soft shower from the south shall bid,
And hither tempt the pilgrim steps of spring...."

- from While yet we wait for spring, and from the dry

by Robert Seymour Bridges (1844 - 1930)

23 April 2017

Sanctuary And Silence - Paradise, Montana

"Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence within us...Not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. 
We are all hungry for this other silence. 
It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. 
Silence is a place of great power and healing. 
Silence is God’s lap.”"

- Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., from My Grandfather’s Blessings

22 April 2017

Morning At Camp Bighorn - Paradise, Montana

Having a great time at big girl camp!
The people at Camp Bighorn are amazing - they provide hot showers - a good thing with a group of 40 women! And you can watch the train running just across the river.
Oh, and coffee is available 24/7. 
Go to the light...!

(& I'm sure it can't hurt to be just down the road from Paradise!)

18 April 2017

Super-Size Me - Missoula, Montana

"Last month at church, she had embarrassed herself half to death. 
The correct quote was, "I am a vessel for God's love, " but she had read out loud in front of the entire congregation, " I am a weasel for God's love." 
Earle had said that no one had noticed, but of course, they had." 

- Fannie Flagg, in The All-Girl's Filling Station's Last Reunion


Truth be told, I've been hoarding this quote for about a year, awaiting just the right "vessel" photo pairing.  Finally, I decided these tanker cars are a fitting match; not just because I'm tired of waiting and I love the train lines from this overpass view, but also because it's entirely fitting to aspire to be an industrial-sized transporter of God's love.(Right?!)

Perhaps a little stretch - "I'm a tanker car for Jesus" evokes a slightly different charm than "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam"... but it works - particularly for Thomas the Train fans!  
Just keep it on the rails and away from incendiary situations.