Well, you may have noticed that I haven’t been contributing to my L + L blog in over two weeks. I promise that I have a really good excuse for not writing.
And my excuse?
Summer in Big Sky country. I’m being serious and completely honest. Summer in northwest Montana, in the heart of Glacier and vast Wilderness, means one should spend as little time as possible indoors. In fact, I advise you to eat all meals outside and to even pee outside, in the grass or woods. Forget the chores like laundry and dreadful mopping. Wrinkles on your clothes are completely in style this time of year.
Of course I could take up writing the old fashioned way with a PEN and PIECE OF ACTUAL, REAL PAPER but then how would you discover my latest antics? I do scribble notes of scraps of paper, on the backs of unpaid bills, and ultimately tend to loose my notes in the pile that has consumed my desk. I write a lot, a lot, I tell you in my head when I’m in the woods, on top of a mountain in Glacier, or squatting in my garden with red stained finger tips from picking strawberries. Lucky me, this lodge house of mine came with a well-established strawberry patch and I’ve managed to pick gallons and gallons of the ripest, tastiest berries ever. EVER.
And it is not like I spent all of July and the burst of August not writing. I’ve been incredibly lucky to land two new writing gigs, one with New West, sharing my mountain adventures with eager and wonderfully supportive folks, and divulging my near-Whitefish adventures with a new, beautifully composed online magazine, Whitefish Life. Still bright eyed and bushy tailed with freelancing, I’ve been amazed to work with the folks at both New West and Whitefish Life. My editors are committed to stories, to words, and to writers, even if they can’t pay more than a 6-pack. That’s OK. I’m honored to contribute to their worthy online magazines.
So, just what has occupied my summer?
Well, I shared with you my volunteer vacation in Bob Marshall’s South Fork of the Flathead country.
Then, I found myself stymied by two mountain climbing attempts in Glacier. Even though I didn’t summit either Piegan or Fusillade, that’s quite OK. I’m not one to challenge 50 mph winds and my legs aren’t that tough to withstand an Edward Scissorhand beating from dense, sharp never-ending bushwhack.
But with my trusty mountain-guide and ever-so-handsome boyfriend, we kicked off August by climbing Altyn Mountain and Mount Henkel in the Many Glacier area.
I just about danced my pants off at the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Sulphur Springs, all thanks to the impressive Sarah Calhoun and her ingenious idea to throw a giant music fest in a cow pasture in one of the poorest towns in all of the West. Nothing like listening to Lyle Lovett and his Large Band play under the setting sun of the Big Belt Mountains, leaning against my father and clasping hands with Cole.
And there are quite a few things that I haven’t done during my summer half-vacation (I call it half-vacation even though I work for the Forest Service and freelance write, summer in Montana is just so damn magical that even while you’re working it feels a lot like a vacation) but hope to:
1) Float the North Fork of the Flathead
2) Spend more days with my friends at Glacier Honey Company either feasting, holding Baby Maggie, or climbing mountains
3) Buy bookcases to deposit the 37 boxes of books stacked around our house
4) Research more writing jobs, thinking of great stories, and (GASP!) applying to graduate school for my MFA
5) Pick huckleberries and actually preserve a bag or two instead of shoving handfuls in my mouth along the trail
6) Visiting Waterton (GASP!) this girl hasn’t even laid eyes on the foreign version of Glacier
7) Sun bathing on my deck with a stack of fashion magazines…secret indulgence of mine!
8) Catch a fish on my dusty fly-rod
9) Backpack into Glacier’s Belly River region (my absolute favorite area of the park!)
10) Harvest cabbage, tomatoes, lettuce, squash, peppers, and onions from my garden
11) Read the looming stack of summers reads from the hammock I set up on the edge of lawn while taking in views of the Swan Mountains from the sanctuary of the new home
The list, as you can see, goes on and on.
But this is the mania of summer in Montana. It is stunning — breathtaking — and one that doesn’t just wait around for you to call. Hell no, you better grab summer by her boots and savor each fleeting moment.
Thank you for your patience while I fully indulge, imbibe in summer.