Summertime in Montana is a glorious thing. Those of us who do not live to ski (or ski to live) pass our winter months in anticipation of arnica and calypso orchid, blue penstemon and scarlet gentian blooming in the high country, sun warming the vanilla sap in the Ponderosas, taking to the trail whether by foot, horse, or mountain bike.
I have lived this summer glut now for eighteen years, and every year it stuns me into a sort of paralysis at first. Things go quite suddenly from sump pump chugging out the spring run-off that dares to flood the basement, to long days—two in one really, in this embarrassment of riches we call summer. It lasts about eight weeks if we’re lucky and usually I find myself spinning into submission with choices, retreating from them all and lying on the screen porch sleeping bed just staring into the marsh. Listening to gabby red-winged blackbirds and allying with the more subtle chickadees who have braved winter just like I have.
We know that summer is a show off. We’re not going to be anybody’s whore. Or are we? Because my God, there is so much that suddenly opens up once the avalanches break apart the snow pack. I mean Glacier National Park is twenty miles away. The rivers. The lakes. The fishing and huckleberry picking and kayaking and boating and river rafting and…and…and. The grizzly bears, and mountain goats, and big-horned sheep we might see if we could get up off the screened porch bed and go out into it. The rides we might have in the Bob Marshall wilderness on our trusty steeds who have stood in the dark freeze covered in a sheath of ice, huddling together in the trees for months on end. We who have huddled are not quite sure what to do with this…manna.
This summertime in Montana. One…two…three…JUMP!
Glacier National Park