Beautiful friends four (!!!) years ago in Bozeman, Montana, having autumnal adventures.
So happy to say that the three people in these photos are all still friends and I love them dearly.
Winter here was long and cruel. It was colder than any I’ve ever experienced.
But it also made me feel alive. One night I didn’t realize it was -65F with windchill and walked over a mile to my favorite bar. Halfway through I couldn’t feel my legs. My cheeks were red and I am surprised my face didn’t have frostbite.
Winter tests you. It makes sure you’re ready. It makes you worthy. You learn to get good boots and gloves and you get used to slipping and sliding through intersections. You ready yourself for school with 4+ layers of wool, fur, and cotton, topping it all off with down. Hats become necessary and the windows have frost on the inside.
Here are some bits of my December in the midst of our winter. I sat on my bed with Chris playing with lenses. We meandered all over the lake in Helena. My sister and I ate pies. My father ice fished for the beautiful, delicious rainbow trout that circle the lake. We went hunting and I shot my own goose and later plucked it.
In about a month I’m heading back to Cape Cod for a glorious week. I’m stopping off in Boston for two days to see Exa, and then I’m off on the ferry for some good old adventure in a beautiful place!
People think Cape Cod and think polos, boats, gin, beaches, stripes and polka-dots, old money, nice cars, proper WASP breeding.
I think when my family arrives we sort of are the antithesis of this. We get a rental car at Logan, dress in whatever we bring from Montana, and show up to our little bungalow with questionable electric wiring. The yard is covered in pine needles. There’s not a dishwasher or a dryer so we hang out clothes in the backyard, where it takes over 24 hours for things to dry because of how humid it is.
We take outdoor showers at night while moths crowd the porch light. Soft moss grows in the patio cracks. The beach is a short walk away and sand is in the cracks in the house. The first time you slip into bed the sheets almost feel damp and you think, “I’m back.” It’s very different from Montana. People aren’t as friendly or open. The smells are all different- salt, sand, and greenery all inhabit your nostrils. Rain patters at night, and the mornings are chilled.
I like going in May when people haven’t arrived yet, when the beaches aren’t crowded, and when the baby plovers run in and out of the beach scrub early in the morning.
Montana is essentially covered with mud, ice, or snow for 6 months of every year and the field of color around me seems to dim. It was almost shocking to feel warm green grass on my bare feet on a lawn in early March! My time there was spent marveling at all the growing things- orange trees, birds of paradise, succulents and cacti taller than me. Of course, I was allergic to it all, and quickly had to go on Benadryl but that didn’t matter.
Being around living things, whether they be flora or fauna, will always be my favorite. I love nature and all she has to offer, and it seems like every surface was teeming with something! There were dozens of bees swarming over the birds of paradise, having a feast, and there were wasps bothering you at breakfast.
Also side note: The squirrels at Scripps were enormous. About 3 times fatter than the Montana ones (which are downright scraggly creatures). They were sleek and bold and ate so well! As a result, there were some gorgeous and sneaky hawks perched in places you wouldn’t see right away that would quickly swoop over the bushes towards their well-fed prey. It was really neat to be sipping coffee outside the dining hall and see a bird of prey just come down so silently. I loved it.
Now I’m back in the land of ice, snow, and mud, dying of a cold in my bed. My car is dead from something (battery hopefully) and I might be medicated up to my non-existent gills but I don’t think I’ll forget my lovely foray into such a warm, lush place.
I may wear SPF 70 and fall a lot, but I love being outdoors. I’ve been camping since I was a week old (one of the first questions my parents asked the doctor was how young was okay) and even though I don’t camp as avidly and often as I did in my youth (my youth being like 14 and younger, I’m not ancient at 21), I still love hiking and getting outside.
Montana is a gorgeous place, even when there is a foot of snow on the ground with 5 degrees F outside, but this is how I like to remember it. Enjoy.