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Reason #37 why I love Montana

Okay–I confess that #37 is arbitrary since I haven’t actually worked out a full list of reasons. I do know reason #1 is the people. I don’t mean just the friends, whom I cherish. I mean Montanans as a whole. But that is an entirely different post for another day.

Reason #37 is all about experiences like today here in Missoula. My dog was getting a bit restless and I thought about letting her out in the backyard. But the sun was shining, so it seemed a great opportunity for a walk. Our morning walk had been cut short because it was gray, dismal and extremely windy. Jenny and I were both freezing and she kept tugging me towards home each time we hit a path that could lead us back.

This afternoon the sun was out and I imagined us doing  a longer walk. So, I took maybe two minutes to get ready. After I laced my sneakers, I glanced out the window and saw–wait for it–snowflakes. It occurred to me to cancel or postpone the walk, but Jenny was looking up at me with those big, brown eyes–tail wagging and ears up in her we’re going for a walk and I’m excited stance. Besides, I’m no wuss–I’m a Montanan.

So, we hit the trail in a light snowfall. It was cold and a bit windy, but not too bad. I decided to head East, up the Kim Williams Nature trail, which put the wind at my back. This is actually unusual because winds usually blow out of the East through Hellgate Canyon and the Kim Williams Trail heads right into the canyon.

We walked maybe a mile, then turned back for home–putting the wind in our faces. In the distance I could see what appeared to be thick smoke just east of the Madison street bridge.  As we headed east, it was clear the smoke–which I was pretty sure was not actually smoke–was headed our way. Within a minute, it had caught up to us–thick, blowing snow. We were soon covered and looked a bit like the Abominable Snowdog and her Abominable Snowfriend.

It was a chilly walk from there with snow clinging to my jeans. Again Jenny tried to get me to take the first turn toward home, but I knew there was a quicker more sheltered trail, so we kept walking into the storm for a few minutes longer before weaving our way back through the University and residential streets.

Of course, by the time we made it home–you guessed it–the sun was again shining.

I know Montana is not the only place on the planet that features sudden Spring storms. I’ve lived in many places where the motto is: “If you don’t like the weather here–just wait.”

No–it’s not the weather that I love. It’s the nonchalant attitude of the people. Everyone out on that trail just walked along, business as usual right through it all. It’s like rain in Eugene, Oregon where I went to law school. As normal as a day ending in “y”.

People here are not easily impressed  by weather. If the same storm hit in June or July–we’d remark on it. But we wouldn’t be surprised. We’d look at each other, nod sagely and say, “Well, we can sure use the moisture.”

That easy-going, accepting nature carries us through winter storms, summer fires and anything else nature or our fellow humans throw at us. We don’t spend  lot of time talking a thing to death, or whining about it. We just do what needs doing. Which takes me back to Reason #1 after all, doesn’t it?

What do you love about the people in your neck of the woods?

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