Thursday, September 25, 2008

A fish out of salt water


I arrived in the Flathead Valley of Montana in 2005 for the first time, in September. My husband and I were tourists, visiting relatives who had recently moved out. We had to come see why. It was beautiful, of course. The hay fields were golden and dotted with round bales of fresh hay, the air was clear, the sky was blue. My husband and I were energized by the craggy mountains surrounding Flathead Valley. We were frightened of the bears, although we didn't see any. We bought bear spray at the drug store.
Now, right away, that was an experience. In Massachusetts, you have to have a license to carry pepper spray. And in Montana, you could buy BEAR pepper spray and carry it around like nobody's business. That felt pretty good, although now I was deathly afraid of the bear SPRAY. What if it was manufactured at the end of a Friday shift, and the lemon of a spray mechanism went off in the car? Could we die of bear pepper spray? Apparently we could.

All this courage was necessary to move about in Montana. Courage to walk up the trail into the Jewel Basin when the grizzlies were collecting huckleberries. No, don't wear bear bells, our hosts said. The bears know that means Knapsack with Food. Well, we didn't know if our hosts were joshing us flat landers or not- we who lived at sea level and fished from Cape Cod Bay. So we didn't wear bells, and we did bring bear spray. Well, my husband did, with our host. I stayed back at the cabin, anxious and worried, and very relieved when my husband came back alive, to relate to me the experience of being snorted at from the bushes, and coming upon steaming bear scat on the trail. And as I was saying, it is necessary to dig out the courage when you move about in Montana.

In June of 2006, we bought a house out here. In June of 2007, we said a tearful good-bye to our Cape Cod relatives, neighbors and friends, and moved on out. Living in Montana had been on my husband's bucket list for years, ever since A River Runs Through it was published.
Yeah, yeah, heard that before, right? And as we arrived, all the astounded people who we had met out here, and who had known us for a short period of time, asked the main question of us: Well, hell yeah, the scenery is outstanding, but you can't eat the scenery! What are you going to DO?

And that's what we Cape Codders have been trying to figure out ever since, along with the rest of the country. In the meantime, there are notable differences between living in the great US of A on Cape Cod, and in the Flathead Valley. And so, that is what I will be noting here for you- the notable differences. And surprising similarities.

1 comment:

marthah25 said...

Hi there!
We are ferocious Obama supporters and we enjoyed your political post today.
Thanks!
Martha on Cape Cod