Montana

We are the quiet fluttering hums of the world. Unimportant, unparticular, unimagined, listless and entirely unimpressive. Our foot steps leave no trace, leave no hollywood marker, with no names. We simply exist of the notion that we remember, and maybe one or two around us.

I approach this as I do a steep hill, just North of Montana. Later, entering through a rusted fence, it’s metals ties, jagged-rusted, at each point reaching gently to the late summer air. Past the hill now, under a braced back piece of metal fence, harboring, like a captured fugitive, a do not enter per order of owner sign, hanging half slanted, as if placed specifically at this 45 degree angle. I work past my swallows, my perspiration of what I am not supposed to do, and keep walking. The area that I open into–my eyes swimming as water into a new home, curling into every crevice, rejoicing in it’s freedom–slowly loses it natural feel. The feel of being transplanted into a National Geographic lasts only seconds before broken bottles, Walmart bags half ripped, and essence and traces of debauched remains come swirling into my gaze. At all times I keep moving, again now, like a moment of self awakening, I try to revert back to that moment of bliss, attempt to peer around the edge of the universe for a glimpse of the what-after. The hill raises and plateaus, stream gives way to rock, gives way to sand, gives way to darker dirt and finally brush and trees on either side of me. My goal: The Big Blackfoot.

I vaguely recall a forest ranger referring to a forest fire about 3 miles from camp. Acres being ravished and only the subtle hint of flame and burning ever greens. The trees here too, although mid west country trees bare a semblance to their east coast brethren. I breath to one conifer that I had his cousin over for Christmas, then apologize, as later I learned all Evergreens were Jewish; “simple human error the tree exhaled back,” correcting me; Christmas Tree eh?. These bouts of mindless internal jumbled stammering, lips bubbling with spit, are heaven. I speak to the trees, not as profit, nor seer, but as a lonely boy wanderlust for staying put. When the trees begin to grow tall over head, the canopy raises to a crescendo of green flickering light, blinding then dark and repeat. As the sun comes to my back at an angle, I catch it in my eyes from the rear and blink as sun’s soapy rays sting my vision over and over. It’s been ten minutes and I am still moving, now beginning to wonder how my campsite is doing. Is my wallet with me, where are my sandals, my good hat, the keys, keys?! It’s strange how we become accustomed to our property; that even keyless for weeks, I still revert back to that as my crucial belongings. I have nothing to open, nothing to get into. Further I have little to keep under lock and key.

As the canopy clears and I am back in a clearing I begin to glimpse a true desolate Montana. I learned early, leaving each state a bit of itself rubs off on the entrance to the new state. Colorado is not Colorado until an hour into it. Before that, for all intensive purposes it is still Kansas, claiming itself as Colorado due to state boundaries. You can’t fool a northerner I told those first hundred miles. Montana, though , from the south, takes hold early after Idaho. And even portions of Idaho trick itself, a sort of identity crisis if you will. Desolate Montana, green as the eye can see, pointed but not jagged, heady but not congested, spreads its fingers eerily through one’s soul. The apparition of it’s being, a green hearted giant hell bent on smiling, relays its nights in the wilderness, forming lakes like we form paths in the sand with our childhood hands. So unorthodox are it’s curves and bends, one might think Montana a child itself basking in its folly and forlorn of the approaching dusk. My first night in Montana I doubled back off the road to a campground, gathered wood and began to set up camp. As I rose from my tent, back out into the evening I swore a veil had been placed over my eyes. Green has the odd job of shadowing black, as no other color does it justice.

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