“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.” –John Steinbeck.
It’s the place people go to escape. A place made of mountains, pine trees, lakes, log cabins, and a touch of magic. Some call it the middle of nowhere; I call it the center of my world. When I was younger, I used to absolutely hate my hometown and the slow pace. But the older I get, the more I realize that half of your life is spent trying to get out of a small town and the other half is spent trying to get back to one.
I have been all over the place (literally and figuratively) but one thing is always constant . . . Nothing cures my bad days quite like a drive up into the mountains in my little hometown of Libby, Montana. Nothing can make me feel at peace quite like a weekend at Glacier National Park. Nothing can make me feel more adventurous than a dip in the Boiling River at Yellowstone National Park.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many places that can make a person feel alive. But in this world where everyone is living their lives too fast, our state truly is a treasure. (No pun intended.) Montana is like a Sunday afternoon. Slow, free, and easy. When you are having a bad day, simply walk outside. It is amazing what a 30-minute walk in big sky country can do for your mental health.
Although I do love oceans, deserts, and skyscrapers, nothing can compare to Montana Mountains. They summon me with some sort of hypnotic pull to walk deeper and climb higher into their beauty. They keep me constantly wanting to learn more, feel more, and become more. Every wild landscape has some kind of power to make us realize how small we are, but nothing brings out the soul in me like the rugged wildness of Montana. When I see the mountains, my restless spirit calms. I know this is where I belong.
Us Montanans really DO have it all. People come from all over the world to spend a week in what we get to call home. I think sometimes we take for granted just how lucky we are, and we need to stop. Talk to your neighbors. Take tons of photos. Go on a hike. Enjoy the fact that everyone you drive by waves, even if you don’t know them. Let the alpenglow at dawn mesmerize you. Start to collect experiences, not things. Whenever you start to feel down, just remember. If you’re lucky enough to be from Montana, you’re lucky enough.
“My favorite state has not yet been invented. It will be called Montana, and it will be perfect.” –Abraham Lincoln, 1864