How are you this fine November day, Dearest Reader? Though I've been told starting any conversation or letter talking about the weather is unoriginal, I do it often and will do so again. I miss the snow! We had it then it left. Granted, there are some very happy residents in this Montana valley, but I'm not one of them. I want the snow back. I pulled out my snowshoeing gear and then it melted, little by little. Good thing it's Montana so I can expect a lot more to come. Okay, so I started with the weather and a little whining.
We recently had visitors, which brightened things quite a bit.
A couple of weeks ago I had an extra cord of wood delivered. The lovely older man, who is almost eighty, has been delivering wood in the area for more than thirty years. I stacked while he unloaded the truck—because he likes that part of the work—and we got to talking. He spoke about how much the area had changed since he moved here almost half a century ago. I found myself seeing the landscape through his eyes, imagining how it once was. I heard the wistfulness in his voice, longing for a place that in many ways no longer exists.
Montana is gorgeous and I love this land, but I'm saddened over how much it has changed in the almost two decades I've called it home. My conversation with this kind man got me thinking about all my book research, for though I live in the place where many of my stories are set, the Montana I know today and the one from the 1800s is quite different. But that's not all that's different, and I'm about to switch gears.
I hear people talk about Montana, many of whom have never set foot in the state or have only visited or lived in one part, and I either find myself annoyed or I laugh. Montana is big, this is no secret. Yet, too often Montana is lumped together in one description. I've lived here a long time and I've seen a lot of the state, but not all of it. Some people will say it's the most beautiful place they've ever been. Another might say it's flat, windy, and has no trees. Both would be correct, depending upon where they were. Eastern Montana is different from Western and Southern is different from Northern. You can be in one town, drive a couple of hours, and feel as though you've hit another state, so different is the landscape.
Montana isn't for everyone. In fact, I know far too many people in my little town who would be better off never having moved here. They complain when winter comes and can't wait until it's over. They wish there was more sunshine and don't understand that the wildlife was here first or believe it's only there for their enjoyment. They mostly see that it's cold in the winter, dry in the summer, and there isn't much to do unless you like snow and guns. Perspective. To those of us who look at it differently, we see glorious snow-covered mountains that bring cold weather ideal for sitting by the fire or playing outdoors. In the summer, we love to jump in the lake or go for a hike, and we're not afraid of snow or guns because we're prepared for whatever nature wants to throw at us.
The world is changing, and some of us—namely me—have a difficult time with change. Montana is changing along with it, far too fast and too much, but the core of what makes this state special has remained. I adapt well to most situations, but there are a few changes I fight to the point where I exhaust myself for no reason. The changes I've witnessed to this beautiful state are ones I am not handling well, but when I find myself in conflict with what I see, I escape to those peaceful corners where time has seemingly stood still.
How do you adapt to change?
Be well, be kind, and stay bookish!