Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Fierce Stillness

The night before last, I pulled off the highway and stopped to check the mail before heading down the two-mile stretch of dirt road that leads out to the house. I was thoroughly distracted as I turned off the ignition, have been bopping around to the song on the radio, wondering if the Netflix movies had arrived. Wondering what Netflix movies has arrived.

It was so still and so quiet and so crisp outside that I was literally rendered immobile. My breath had, in fact, been taken away. This awe was unexpected. Something was different. It was so still. Seemingly without a say in the matter, I stood still for a while, gazing at this land that is my home, listening to those sounds that are often missed because the wind shouts over them. A coyote called. L-town glittered in the valley. I looked up at the stars. I was once again stunned at how bright and clear the stars are when you are by yourself, away from the lights, the cars, the noise of town. It was such bliss to lift my head without having to steady myself from the wind.

The landscape imprinted itself on me. In its stillness.


Last night, the dust stirred up by my tires as I drove up the lane to the house blew ahead of me, faster than my car was driving. A few weeks ago, while driving 55 mph on the highway, the truck couldn't keep up with the blowing snow, either. It is a strange feeling, being outrun by the wind. But it is not foreign.

The landscape etched itself on me. In its fierceness.


It is not always easy, living here. In the thick of the winter months I start to struggle with it. It is so cold. So windy. So long. It is so much work just to be in this kind of weather. Currently, at 10:45 a.m., it is an even 0 degrees Fahrenheit. When the wind picks up, it feels more like -15 or -20 degrees. Thankfully, there was just barely a breeze this morning. walking to the car, I forced myself to stop for a moment. I forced myself to appreciate the newly fallen snow, the quiet peacefulness of morning where all of God's creatures are snuggled up, quiet, keeping warm for a bit longer before the business of the day calls them out.

Maybe if I look for and treasure these little moments of grace I will be strong enough to endure another winter. Perhaps, instead of simply enduring I can teach myself to thrive in this fierce stillness.


  1. This made me cry a bit. I miss that wind and sky and cold.

  2. This is beautiful. It made me feel like I was actually there, minus the cold. It's just gorgeous. I think you have a great attitude.

  3. Your post made me miss Montana so much, and I'm not one to get homesick. I hate going out in the +15F weather here in IL. When I lived in Judith Gap though, I actually liked getting up, getting out in the sub zero weather, and watching the sunrise in the cold. I even liked the wind. Strange for some maybe, not for me. Thanks for taking me back to it for a moment.

  4. Black Sheeped - I missed this place every day that I lived in DC and England. Now I miss DC and England, but not with the same intensity as I missed Wyoming before I moved back.

    Jess - I'll need you to remind me of this attitude in mid-March, when spring hits DC and I am still shoveling snow.

    animanous - Welcome! Yay!

    There are days when I really like that the elements are something I not only have to deal with, but that they actually shape my day, and eventually much of my life.

    But other days I am just a wimp and want to be pampered with a balmy +15 F day.

    I have never liked to get up to watch a sunrise, but once up and smacked in the face with a good cold one, I do get the inkling there is a God.

  5. This is very sad to me, like others have said, but beautifully written. Well done.

  6. Your home sounds idyllic to me... like somewhere you go on vacation and decide to stay. Very nicely written.

  7. I'm a good Southern girl, but your post was so beautiful and lovely that for a brief instant I wanted to pack up my belongings and move.

    Thank you for reminding me to stop and really appreciate the beauty of the world.


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