Montana State of Mind

I sit in my quiet livingroom next to a rippin’ fire with Gregory Alan Isakov on Pandora and my faithful pup Ginny (I know you thought I would say Bridger and or Madison) curled up on her blanket close by. She is making soft yelps as puppy dreams run through her head and her feet are still moving as if she continues her obscessing quest for her frisbee. Reflection on life is easy to do in a setting like this. I have always been interested in writing, in fact I thought I was going to be a journalist at the age of five. As I went an entirely different career route my love for writing, reading and current events has not waned but merely been put in a dusty shoebox on the top shelf of that closet you keep telling yourself you’re going to clean out, someday that is. We live in a world of electronic media most of which I have yet to get involved with (tweets, blogs, Instagram, LinkedIn). But a few of my friends have started blogs and after reading them it made me nostalgic for writing again. So I decided, why not? At least my mother will be pleased that her daughter who used to write up stories of all our family adventures in the Montana wilderness was writing again. So here goes….

A recent post being shared and re-shared across the time-sucking world of Facebook described how Autocomplete (no I don’t know what Autocomplete is either) describes each of the 50 states. Montana had truly the most, well badass description… simply put “Montana is for Badasses”.

Badass [bad as]
adjective Also, bad·assed.
1.(of a person) difficult to deal with; mean-tempered; touchy.
2.distinctively tough or powerful; so exceptional as to be intimidating.
**(let’s just forget #1 and focus on #2)

Being a fourth generation Montanan this concept is not new to me, in fact I would proudly boast about my home state whenever I had the chance while an undergraduate at the University of Oregon. I would wear that badge proudly and know that most of my Montanan coeds would do the same. Even when I lived for awhile in Salt Lake City, UT after graduate school my home was always still in Montana. Thus when the opportunity for employment arose I jumped. I could list off many reasons why “badass” is a perfectly good adjective to describe Montanans however that may take too much time so I’ll try to limit it to one story. Recently I went on a great backcountry ski tour in the Hebgen Lake area near West Yellowstone. It was a beautiful very crisp (i.e. freezing cold) bluebird January day. I was fortunate to have the company of my husband Justin and dear friend Erin. Despite our skin issues (lets just say that in the end each of us had only one legitimate skin to ascend the 2700 vertical feet) smiles were still plastered to our faces as we skinned back across the frozen lake to our awaiting car and more importantly valiantly earned apre ski beer. We met some fellow Bozemanites in the parking area who had gotten up at the crack of dawn to drive the 1.5 hours and get in multiple early ski laps. They were then leaving there to hit the Madison River near Ennis to fly fish only to follow it up with a dip at Norris Hot Springs as they returned back to Bozeman making a complete 196 mile circle. If that doesn’t sound like a Badass day I don’t know what does. For those of you not familiar with Montana Badassness (I know, i just coined a new word) driving long distances is often part of the equation of what makes up an epic Montana day. Autocomplete definitely got this one correct, Montana is for badasses (like you had any doubt). As I finish my first blog post I’ll leave you with this, Montana isn’t just FOR badasses, Montana IS badass. I think these famous faces had it right:

John Steinbeck wrote in Travels with Charley: In Search of America “I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”

Colin Meloy frontman for the folk rock group The Decemberists spoke in his 2012 graduation speech to his alma matter Helena High school about “Montana Exceptionalism” and I think he hit the nail on the head.


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2 Responses to Montana State of Mind

  1. marty york says:

    Loved it!! You write so well…lots of description and yet with a clarity of purpose that makes the post a fun read. I love that writing clearly still gives you so much joy.

  2. Casey Chumrau says:

    Love it, Mo! I consider myself a “Montana ex-pat”. I always differentiate where I live from where I’m FROM. It defines us in so many ways! I miss the mountains every day! xo

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