24 September 2023

05 September 2023

Urban Wildlife - Watchful Doe and Fawns - Missoula, Montana

Urban wildlife - on one hand, a beautiful grace note to living in Missoula, Montana. On the other hand, definitely a problem of increasing deer population that is not afraid of humans. These lovelies were un-alarmed by yakking Griz fans within twenty feet, walking from side-street parking near the University of Montana on Saturday, 9/2/2023.  (Even more alarming  are the two well-antlered bucks roving our neighborhood!)

26 August 2023

Dream Gateway - Near Kalispell, Montana (Guest Post!)

Named for Spring Creek that runs - above AND below ground - through its 100 acres, this ranch north of Kalispell, Montana, was deeded into a conservation trust. Future generations (human, furry, fishy, fern-y, all and sundry...) benefit by protection from development that allows native wildlife and habitat to flourish. (The gateway fascinated…a portal for hopeful dreams…. )

Many thanks to Pat Richards for today’s view and musing fodder. Read more of her tales of true adventure here AND hard copy/Kindle compiled stories here.

13 August 2023

Setting Sun-filled (Flower) Smile - Missoula, Montana

“It was a transporting thing, that smile, as it had probably been all her long life, and I felt its power to fix you where you stood (or sat, or fell); it lifted her beyond age, in a way that the other women present, with their more effortful looks, were not lifted.” -The Poet’s House by Jean Thompson, p. 35

12 August 2023

Corker Upcycle - Missoula, Montana

New life for old wine corks - a clever upcycle feature in this herb container garden Horticulture entry at Missoula’s Western Montana Fair. (Still plenty to see and do - and eat! - through Sunday 8/13!)

(Bonus material: Clean Cork jokes I found looking for cork puns - totally irrelevant to this post but they’re funny so who cares? Enjoy!)

04 August 2023

Big Sky Smokey Clouds, Big Blue Tractor - Near Ronan, Montana

Construction driving delays near Ronan, Montana, allows the fire-season (darker) version of “stop and smell the roses”…a rather strange dichotomous beauty in the flawless big sky span intersected by roiling wildfire smoke morphing into fluffy high cumulus clouds….

But the prayed-for rain is coming…

26 July 2023

Glorious Morning- East Missoula, Montana

A wee Montana field weed allegory :
 Even the tiny wild morning glory thrives in opening its weedy little heart to the sun each day, then later wrapping in to its core all that sustaining warmth and life, ready for what’s next to come.

21 July 2023

Vanilla Smell (but don’t taste…) - Ponderosa Pine - Kootenai Creek, Stevensville, Montana

“…a smell … likened to vanilla or butterscotch exudes from the cracks between slabs of bark on the tree, creating a unique type of Rocky Mountain aromatherapy.” - Katherine Court in Field Notes: Ponderosa Pine Bark. (Learn a LOT more from the Montana Natural History Centre!)

17 July 2023

Focus Further - Kootenai Creek, Stevensville, Montana

“It is never quite safe to think we have done with life. When we imagine we have finished our story, fate has a trick of turning the page and showing us yet another chapter.” - L. M. Montgomery (1874-1942), Rainbow Valley, chapter 13

13 July 2023

Rooted - Kootenai Creek, Stevensville, Montana

“I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.” - John Muir (1838-1914)

12 July 2023

01 July 2023

30 June 2023

Solitude - Missoula, Montana

“I remember my grandfather telling me how each of us must live with a full measure of loneliness that is inescapable, and we must not destroy ourselves with our passion to escape the aloneness.”
— Jim Harrison (1937-2016)

21 June 2023

River Stories, Cottonwood Leaves - Clark Fork River, Missoula, Montana

I do wonder what travel stories this cottonwood leaf duo could tell (if, of course, they could manage to stop for a chat or interview …).  

The face of the river, in time, became a wonderful book . . . which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it had uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.” — (Samuel Clemens (1835-1910) aka Mark TwainLife on the Mississippi)

09 June 2023

Mr Burns At The Wilma - Missoula, Montana

Totally worth the looong wait in line to preview "American Buffalo” the warmly witty Ken Burns’ latest film documentary project. (Coming to a PBS station near you October 16 & 17, 2023!).

08 June 2023

29 May 2023

Aerial Big Sky Mountain View - Clark Fork River, Missoula, Montana

“Seen from the sky the arid landscape lay, a lovely thing. The plains were gold and purple, the clouds cast great blue-black shadows, there were toy boxes in a dark green patch that marked the oasis of an occasional ranch house, and near by the jade-green circlets that meant water holes. So, in the almost unbearably brilliant blue sky, they soared and roared aloft in a giant iridescent bubble.” - Giant by Edna Ferber, p. 35

17 May 2023

Spring Rain, Vibrant Foliage - East of Lincoln, Montana

Spring rainfall last night and into this morning punched up the colour vibrancy east of Lincoln, Montana, and made for a gorgeous Montana road trip day. (Now we just need those fruitful clouds to head north and tamp down Alberta’s wildfires and smoky skies, please Lord.)

15 May 2023

Beauty Near - Apple Blossoms, Full Bloom - Missoula, Montana

“Sometimes it is enough to be near something lovely. It doesn't require possession; nothing has to come of it, nothing need be created from it. Let its purpose be to exist solely as a thing of beauty and provide joy.”

-Chi Chi Armandonada in Tony’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani, p. 590 (large type edition)

14 May 2023

Beauty Perspective - Missoula, Montana

May you recapture “perspective for these riches“ for today.

 “And so it is that most people have no idea how beautiful the world is and how much magnificence is revealed in the tiniest things, in some flower, in a stone, in tree bark, or in a birch leaf. The grown-ups, going about their business and worries, and tormenting themselves with all kinds of details, gradually lose the perspective for these riches that children, when they are attentive and good, soon notice and love with their whole heart…“ - Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)letter to Helmut Westhoff, Nov. 12, 1901 in: Briefe, p. 31  

13 May 2023

03 May 2023

29 April 2023

Musical Engineering - Hazelton Brothers Piano -Missoula, Montana

At a recent “welcome home to Montana” reception held for an antique Hazelton Brothers piano - perhaps Missoula’s first! - that originally graced the 1880 home of Missoula co-founder Francis Lyman Worden, the luscious interweaving layered lines of the soundboard caught my attention. Fortuitously, the piano’s technician/tuner was on hand, noodling through some artsy chords. A gap in group conversation allowed me to ease in the query, “Where do the hammers strike the bass strings?”  My key takeaway: The design is truly an opposite-world marvel of musical engineering during the instrument’s era morphing from harpsichord to current upright and grand pianos. You can read more on the history of this piano in the (delightful present-day) Worden family in Cory Walsh’s story here

24 April 2023

Have Patience, Gardeners! - Spring Snow - Missoula MT

Just a little reminder why last frost/safe planting dates in Western Montana are typically late May…

17 April 2023

Vegetable Seedlings - Missoula, Montana

My curious self relishes the unique hallmarks of season change across so many vastly varied “worlds”. While the Montana gardening “world” marks Spring by emerging tender indoor plant  starts, today’s regional news indicates the Professional Bull Riding “world” looks to key qualifying events to define “seasons”. I’m firmly convinced that I f we just keep our eyes and wonder wide open, boredom is a non-issue!

13 April 2023

Near Mountains in Snowfall - East Missoula, Montana

I repeatedly marvel at the intimate nearness of the surrounding mountains of the Bitterroot and Missoula valleys. It brings peripherally to mind C.S. Lewis’s portals that transport from a must-get-through mindset to an entirely different perspective that stirs the soul to wonder. 

(And yes, we are still getting random snow this week…!)

02 April 2023

Snowy Spring Day - Kootenai Creek - Near Stevensville, Montana

“…one is inclined to quess that, apart from the acquisition of knowledge and the exhilaration of climbing, more pleasure is to be found at the foot of the mountains than on their tops….” - John Muir (1838-1914)

29 March 2023

Getting Closer to Yellowstone…& Spring - Near Livingston, Montana

“…Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains? Oh! what hours of transport we shall spend! And when we do return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea of anything. We will know where we have gone - we will recollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations; nor, when we attempt to describe any particular scene, will we begin quarrelling about its relative situation.…' “

-Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Ch 27

26 March 2023

Sun And Snow Along Kootenai Creek - Near Stevensville, Montana

Watching snowflakes peacefully float past the green backdrop of our juniper tree, I’m mentally basking in last weekend’s perfect snow-sun Sunday along Kootenai Creek near Stevensville, Montana. While our souls (and soles?hah! ) were duly satisfied over a carefully stepped snow-packed mile, other hikers said they were returning from the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness boundary just 3.5 miles from the trailhead. (Investing yet  another 7 miles apparently gets you to a pair of lovely lakes…)

18 March 2023

Wisdom On The Wind - Near Alberton, Montana

“His wisdom came from deep wells - from the things that had been known to the generations that had gone before him. It was fashionable to put all that knowledge behind us, to think that only our modern understanding counted for something, but that, she thought, was so wrong, so wrong.  We were not the first people to tread where we now trod;  countless ancestors had come exactly this way.  And although their footprints might have been blown away by the wind, we could sense  their presence if only we opened our eyes and ears to it.  And we could hear his voices, too, if we listened hard enough.  We could hear their warnings, their encouragements, their advice - if only we turned our heads to the wind and heard the voices, faint and distant, that the wind carried.  We could hear.”

11 February 2023

Borderline Mountain View - Near Lookout Pass, Montana

Delight has never failed at the unfolding of this big sky mountain view around the I-90 curve atop Lookout Pass on the Montana-Idaho west border. I wonder if the original road planning crew for this route deliberately engineered the artistry of this sweeping reveal, or if this particular grandeur capture was just unavoidable dumb luck?  While  technically in Idaho at this point, the state border jiggy-jog on a map allows me to hazard you are partly looking across to Montana and thus justify finally posting this longtime fave road trip view. 

23 January 2023

Red Leaf, Intensely Small - Missoula, Montana

“… and if people did not lose the capacity for taking pleasure as intensely in a birch leaf or a peacock’s feather or the wing of a hooded crow as in a mighty mountain or a splendid palace. What is small is not small in itself, just as that which is great is not—great.” 

- Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

06 January 2023

Epiphany Light Shine - Missoula, Montana

Epiphany - what a lovely day to celebrate - the very name full of promise of new beginning, of life-light diminishing soul-darkness, of suddenly realizing life-altering simple somethings previously shadowed, just out of reach.

May the Lord’s kindness shine bright upon you and then through you. 

02 January 2023

Step Into A New Year - East Missoula, Montana

“…my mother forever tried to tell the other three of us. That the past is a taker, not a giver. It was a warning she felt she had to put out, in that particular tone of voice with punctuation all through it, fairly often in our family. When we could start hearing her commas and capital letters we knew the topic had become Facing Facts, Not Going Around with Our Heads Stuck in Yesterday.” - Jick McCaskill in English Creek by Ivan Doig, pp. 3-4

(BTW, if “Read More Books” made your New Year to-do list, anything by Ivan Doig is a high-yield investment.)