Pebbles on the Edge

Pebbles on the Edge
Lake McDonald, 2014

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Well, it's January, nearly the end of it already. The flies of time keep buzzing by.

My attempt at continuing my story about Scotland lies temporarily aborted and I'm back to Great Northern, my tale about Montana, the High Plains east of the Lewis Overthrust (where I grew up), and the western side of GNP, a private cabin on Lake McDonald, and two people who meet by accident--isn't it always an accident?--both of them coming home after years of being gone. It's about younger people, of course...and I am writing about things I know, having been born a third generation Montanan, and having spent most of my life there in the shadow of the Rockies, in the impossibly open wheat country of the Golden Triangle--which, by the way, produces one-sixth of the world's wheat on mostly dry-land farms stretching endlessly in a patchwork all the way into Canada, or as far as the eye can see.

Every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day almost, we went somewhere in or near the Park. Our dad--whatever his faults, and there were many--loved camping. Rain or shine, and there was a lot of rain on the west side sometimes, days and days of it.

I remember...oh, I remember, and gilded are the memories now of that growing-up in freedom and light, discovering sweet thimbleberries amid the rain-soaked undergrowth at Two Medicine, walking a trail between Rising Wolf and the lake amid a riot of wildflowers, watercolor-painting the sunrise over Lake McDonald from the shingle shoreline at Fish Creek...

Things grow here in Oregon that don't even dream about growing in Montana, as if that were some sort of compensation.

A snippet from Norman Maclean:

“On the Big Blackfoot River above the mouth of Belmont Creek the banks are fringed by large Ponderosa pines. In the slanting sun of late afternoon the shadows of great branches reached across the river, and the trees took the river in their arms.”

And we take memory in ours.


Melis said...

Gig, you made me cry from your descriptions--I miss Montana and Glacier Park so much sometimes!

Eilidh said...

Me too! This summer, we're going again. I need to do more research!