Life In Montana

                               The Yellowstone River, 10 miles North of the park

So what is life like in Montana? Oh, it’s the best, the absolute best! I’ts hard, now,
but it is rewarding in more ways then I could list on this page. Major high points? Well, the scenery, natch. And the myriad outdoor activities up in that scenery. The people here, I’m told and I believe, are of a slightly different cut. We help each other all the time, because we know we could never make it here alone.
                                                             Debbie & Me

Scenery, outdoor activities, the people… then – for me, anyway – the *inspiration* which comes from the first three, which is very important. My special lady friend (not Debbie) told me about a book on superstitions she got in China. Story is, Evil Spirits cannot go around corners. Therefor, it is advised that all paths be developed in a zigzagged pattern, so that one can’t be followed! Why did I bother to tell you that?? Simple. Because in my “Sagebrush book of superstition, ” it says that when one follows their heart, their intuition, their *inspiration,* they create a zigzag path… a path that can be VERY fun! AND, hoo hoo haa haa… they can’t be followed by the evil spirits! Come on now, you believe that, don’t you? Hell, I sure do.   ;^)

Okay. Scenery, outdoor activities, the people, the inspiration that comes from those… oh, and what happens to us within as a result of the first four. This one is important too, gang. For though the changes within us, derived from living here for all two seasons of the year, might seem subtle, often they are not subtle at all. I think we gradually become tougher, more resilient, more passionate, more self-confident. More Self-confident?? Sure. For me, at least, living in this land is a constant challenge to do things I’ve not done before. Up here on my sagebrush hillside, it’s easier for me to try to do a difficult thing myself than to call someone whom I know can do the job. Having the time, I usually think, hell, why not try it? And if I get in a bind, I’ll call for help. Almost every time I’m able to do the thing myself, often something I’ve never attempted before. Like changing a fuel pump, fixing an exhaust leak, building a garage door, shoring up the east side of the cabin from the bitter winter east wind with plywood and plastic, digging out my front driveway after a hard blizzard… a funny thing happens to me. My self-confidence increases, and I’m able to do more things better and easier, because I think I can.
A gradual morph from a semi-helpless city guy to a semi-capable mountain guy.
To me, a pretty big deal, a most worthy outcome of the big four.

All two seasons of the year?? Yeah. We call them either winter and road construction, or winter and guests.

So my 5 high-points of life in Montana are 1.The Scenery 2. Outdoor Activities 3. The People 4. The Inspiration 5. The Self-confidence. Notice the last two are intangibles, while the first 3 are definitely tangibles? And notice that the two intangibles are derived from the first three tangibles? I thought you did. Good. Because within that relationship of tangible/intangible lies the reason we get a “spirit” about this place… a special feeling about it. And it’s because we get hardwired to it after awhile, linked to it, and it makes us stronger, quieter, better.

To meet and learn to know some of the incredibly special people here is to become a better person yourself, just by association. Can you name a dozen people you’d like to live with while stranded on a desert island? In a way, we’re living that here.

                                                Roger, Debbie’s husband, & me

semi-stranded on a high-mountain island, a little town apart from social graces and convenient public services. Truth is, no one is stuck here. We’ve all chosen this lifestyle, in this particular place. Probably a third of us would tell you it wasn’t even our choice… that Virginia City and the surrounding mountains chose us, and we simply couldn’t refuse.
                                                  Iron Jack, with a good load

One woman tells us of driving into Virginia City for the first time. Before they even got downtown she said to her friend, “My God, look at this little town! I’ve got to live here!” Ten years later, she still does.

My friends Jon and Rikki Scott know exactly why they love it here. They’re as close to *off the grid* as they can get. They bake their own bread, have a huge vegetable garden, have chickens & eggs, heat their cabin with a woodstove… Jon wrote two songs about life in Virginia City, which we recorded and put on our High Country Homebrew album. His lyrics are heart-felt and revealing. Here’s a sampling –

“There’s something about this place that calls to me
It’s a spirit I’ll never see
I just can’t put my finger on it
But the feeling I have is real
So I guess we’ll see what the future brings
The longer I stay, the easier to believe.”

Like that? Me too. Here’s a touch from his other song –

“A soft green is coming over the valley
The sun is finally on his northern race
Winter is broken and cannot rally
Any more freezing in this place
And now winter’s only trace
Is another line burned upon my face.”

Couple that with Jon’s beautiful, expressive voice and soft guitar, and you’ll begin to feel what we all feel here. Colonel Jack Waller calls it “the asylum.”
I call it “Paradise.”

Steve Hulse

3 Replies to “Life In Montana”

  1. I, too, my friend, love her so. I hear her calling, Me, too, she chose. I think of her mountains day and night, her cool springs and, oh, her sights. Again one day we shall meet, I’ll walk her land with my two feet. I’ll gaze upon her mountain tops and live the life that time forgot. Sooner than later, please let it be, for Montana is the place for me.

    1. Goddamn you, Michael. Your beautiful poem really did make me cry. Wasn’t gonna tell you… not the manly thing to do, and all that shit… but we’re talkin’ Montana here, right? Crying is legal, especially when you express your feelings for her so beautifully. I almost think you feel closer to her than I do. And that’s okay. Love comes in many forms, and for many reasons. You are obviously attached to Montana at the heart, and that’s one of the many things I so respect you for. Make your dream come true, man… make your poem come true.


  2. When I read:
    “There’s something about this place that calls to me
    It’s a spirit I’ll never see
    I just can’t put my finger on it
    But the feeling I have is real
    So I guess we’ll see what the future brings
    The longer I stay, the easier to believe.”

    my spirit leapt and tears sprung to my eyes. I thought it was just me who felt this way. What is it about Montana that calls to people, stirs their spirits, and draws them to her? I don’t know, but I arrive January ’14, and I can’t wait to find out!

    Thanks for sharing,

Leave a reply, always happy to hear from you

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2011 - 2020 Steve Hulse, All Rights Reserved