Okay, it’s time to tell you… life is fleeting. I know, you knew that already. But… are you really living as if??  C’mon – we all KNOW it, we just don’t quite live it that way all the time. And that’s what this post is all about.  Once a year, okay? Don’t let me preach to you here, but I need to remind you, and me, of moments in our lives that can slip by if we stop paying attention, stop appreciating. Especially the little, seemingly unimportant moments.

Think we have 25, maybe 35 more years left? Ehhh, probably not. We have today, and maybe tomorrow, and that’s it. If you’ve got a guarantee of more, show it to me. I’d love to see it, and see who signed it…

Which brings me to the point once again… are we living, really living?? Sometimes, we do, sometimes we don’t. Tonight, I was on the verge… to live, or not to live… that really was the question. I was tired. No, lazy… I’d had a venison stew, had built a fire in the wood stove and the cabin was warm. My Kansas Jayhawks had won their semi-final game in the Hawaii tournament and although they were sure to be slammed by Duke tomorrow night, all was momentarily well with the world. I was ready for bed, I thought. There was maybe one more glass of wine in the bottle of cheap in the cupboard. I could drink it, to be sure… but where? Here, in front of the crackling wood stove, or out in the hot tub… in the night, in the deep heat that would surely put me out for a long winter’s nap?

Being already toasty, I was tempted to simply crawl to my bed and call it a great day. But there WAS that damned hot tub out there. An old Miles Davis album was playing on my surround system, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that to NOT go out into the hot tub tonight was to basically turn my nose up at one of my several luxuries that  few others had out here, in this part of the country. Was I suddenly taking my great hot tub for granted, and not enjoying it, simply because the moon was not full and I was feeling lazy??

Well, you know the answer. I poured a plastic cup of the last of the wine, threw on my robe and went out there in my moccasins. And what a right move it was. The water was hot, incredible, and before I was sitting out there five minutes, some coyotes across the way set up a howl and a yipping. I sipped my wine and thought, “yeah… this was the thing to do. Damn.” I listened to them while the steam from the water drifted left to right, upward from the hot tub, dimming the lights of the little town below. And it occurred to me… would I have missed this? Would I have gone to bed, lazy slug that I can be, and missed this?? Thank heavens I didn’t. It was magic, it was warming beyond belief, it was reassuring that my life in the Rocky Mountains is a good life… and that the wildlife is still really here, unimpeded by us.

I finally crawled out of the hot tub, pulled the cover back over it, and padded back into the cabin. The wood stove was still lit, pouring heat into the cabin. The satellite jazz station was still filling the living room with sweet sounds. I sat down in front of the wood stove in the rocking chair for a moment, felt its heat, felt the beautiful ambiance of my fantastic cabin. I rocked, and thought about it all. Would I have missed that last forty five minutes? No. Not for the world. The heat of the hot tub, the quiet scene of the town below, the sound of Daylight Creek, already gurgling under the newly-formed ice, the coyotes… Oh hell no. Instead of another night of Kansas Jayhawk angst in front of the fire, I came back inside remembering who I am, where I am, why I am here, and just how incredible this place that I am presently in… is. You know… forget the Jayhawks. I absolutely love life in Montana.


Steve Hulse

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