“What good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness?” So says John Steinbeck in Travels with Charley. And he loved Montana!
I can appreciate the benefits of cold here in Montana. I may think differently if I lived in Minnesota 😊. Living in the woods, I spend a lot of time outside. There is always a view to be enjoyed, wind in the pines to be heard, cones to pick up, firewood to chop or snow to shovel. I have critters of all sorts visiting my property. Except for the occasional feather or the deposit of digested berries, it’s only in winter that I can really see who comes and goes.
Deer are the most common. They leave lots of signs, mostly chewed off shrubs, but in the winter they add a bit of artful creativity. Sometimes their little hooves leave heart-shaped prints.
When I first moved here rabbits were everywhere, so many I might see several a day. I went to great effort to make my garden rabbit proof. We had an influx of fox one year and the rabbits disappeared. Now, though I don’t see them, they are making a comeback. I’d never know it if it weren’t for their distinctive prints in the snow.
I love feeding the birds in the winter. I get the typical juncos, nuthatches, and chickadees, and I’m also treated with visits from nutcrackers, jays and flickers. They all leave me crystallized artwork that can last for days.
The local flocks of turkeys keep me entertained with their comical tromping around.
Even the trees sprinkle their ideas on the white canvas.
I’ve talked about trade offs before. Since I have no choice in our weather, I may as well enjoy what I can of each season. Sometimes it’s a trial, I know, but I’m in good company. Steinbeck loved it here as well. I’m sorry couldn’t meet him, we’d have had lots to talk about. 😊
“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.”