Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Glimpse of Bozeman

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I got my first glimpse of Bozeman, MT a week ago Friday afternoon, amid a snowstorm. Beautiful, from what we could see, but visibility was limited by the snow as we drove west from Billings and climbed up through the Bridger Mountains and dropped into the Gallatin Valley. Sunday was the first time the sun peeked out since our arrival. I celebrated by going for a walk around the neighborhood near the house we are renting, where we are spending time with Pappa Bear's family for a belated Christmas celebration. Aspens stood by the creek, the new fallen snow accentuating the bare branches and muffling every sound. (I took this as a good sign, finding Aspens here, the namesake tree of my alpaca business.) Snow sparkled in between ski tracks. A neighbor skijored by with his very small dog. I wish I had a picture of that. The dog couldn’t have been more than 14 pounds sopping wet. Maybe tomorrow. The trail was just lovely, and the sunshine and snow made everything seem magical. Later in the afternoon, Pappa Bear and I went for a drive. We wanted to check out the countryside, see if there were any areas that appealed to us as we continue our search for land, for a farm to call our own. We drove straight north of Bozeman, following the curve of the mountains. It was, breathtakingly beautiful. I realize there was fresh snow blanketing all of the evergreens, turning the green forests covering the mountainside a bluish hue. I realize the sun was shining, for the first time in several days. I realize it was the first real glimpse of Bozeman and the Gallatin Mountains I have ever seen. It was still, utterly, breathtakingly, beautiful. Ranches reached up towards the foothills, but the fences died out before the tree line. The mountains are still wild, owned by nobody, and everybody. I could feel them, watching over us as we drove along their base. The words from Peter Mayer's song, Like a Mountain, sprung into my consciousness (Peter Mayer songs do that to me a lot): Driving near Mount Shavano It seemed to be looking me over Feeling that gaze down below I pulled the car off on the shoulder. Staring at the rock and the sky My heart began beating more slowly Till I Lost track of time Forgot where it was I was going. Suddenly, I saw life from the brink I watched an age pass me by like a wink In just one heartbeat I believe I could think Like a mountain. Mountain, we measure our lives By tens and by twenty years only Teach us the ways Of the million year mind What a million year heart could be hoping. And tho if I’m wise I will strive and I’ll pray To turn that one tick in time into day And lead this poor picture-flash life in that way… Like a Mountain. We drove for over two hours, the loop north of Bozeman, then west, finally hitting I90 and heading south through Manhattan. If the light had lasted longer, we would have kept driving. We saw horses and white barns and log homes and green and white mountains sparkling in the sunshine. If we had had any doubts coming out here that this could be among our “Top Places To Live,” they were quickly dissipating. Monday, Pappa Bear and I decided we needed to ski a “real” mountain, Big Sky. First time, ever, for me, to ski on a real mountain – about 9,000 feet up at the height of the highest run we made. I grew up on the north shore of Lake Superior. There are no mountains there. Oh, yeah, sure, we call our rugged hills along the shoreline the Sawtooth Mountain Range, but we’re not really kidding anyone - they’re hills, not real mountains. Skiing at Lutsen is enjoyable, but nothing compared to Big Sky, MT. We were at Big Sky for three hours. We skied exactly four runs. We were utterly, completely, exhausted. Thursday, it finally dawned a clear day, after a week of cloudy mornings. As I sat at the desk in the loft, I had a perfect view out the cathedral ceiling windows of the living room, with a view towards the mountains.
[Note to self: Remember to tell Pappa Bear that if/when we design and build our house on the ranch someday, we MUST have an office in the loft with a view out the big living room windows. Preferably with a view of the mountains.]
In Bozeman, it’s hard not to have a view of the mountains, as they seem to be in every direction. I love that about Bozeman. This morning, unlike the other mornings here, I can actually see the mountains, with the pink of dawn slowly creeping over the edges. The trees in the yard are all frost-covered and ghostly white in the pale pink morning light. I think I am in love with this place. C-baby has informed us not only can we move here, and soon, but that we had better move here, and soon. I tend to agree with her assessment. So, Pappa Bear, as soon as you want to find a new job out here, we’re all game. Just say the word, rent the truck, and we’re here. Is there any place that you have absolutely fallen in love with, where you would be living right now if you could? I’d love to hear all about it. Cheers – Victoria

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