Everything feels hazy these days, like the smoke-filled skies of Montana lately. Whatever we do, going about our lives, is overhung with the pall of uncertainty, tainted by an air of anxiety. We all keep going, because what else are you going to do, but nothing feels clear, nothing feels unburdened. While we make decisions, take leaps of faith, think about the future, whatever is left of our democracy is chipped away, corruption of public figures goes on in plain sight, normal assumptions of behavior are turned upside down, and predicting the surprises that lurk down the road is a blindfolded crapshoot. One day I can easily imagine our country becoming as corrupt and morally bankrupt as any banana republic on earth. The next I see a glimmer of hope that we might turn the corner and re-establish some semblance of a country and culture we can flourish in and be proud of. Never has the cliche, anything could happen, seemed more apt.
But we keep going, count our blessings, assume that a future we can accept will emerge out of this fog of disheartening circumstance. For Marypat and me the single most profound change is that we have actually pulled the trigger on our long-threatened move out of Bozeman. We had been working toward that decision for the past year – working with a realtor, sprucing up the house, filling up a storage unit, getting ready. Then Covid came along. Given circumstances, we put things on hold for a couple of months. I began thinking that we might want to put things off until fall. Then I talked to our friend Jake about it. He shook his head.
“I don’t know,” he said. “If it were me, I’d be pretty leery of what’s coming down the road this fall with the election, the economy, the virus. If things look good now, I think I’d go for it.”
It had the ring of truth. Who knows what things will look like in the fall? We pushed forward with our plans. Anyone who makes light of moving from a home after 30 years of making it ours, raising our kids, building a community of friends and neighbors, either doesn’t have a clue or isn’t doing the work. It is an excruciating, laborious, disheartening, anxious process. In our case, after months of incrementally preparing for the big leap, it all happened in a rush.
Suddenly the house was ready. Our realtor scheduled a photo shoot of the property, put it on the market the next day, and told us to leave town. “Come back at the end of the weekend and we’ll look at offers,” she said. “Yeah right,” I thought.
Well, she was right. Within 24 hours we had 5 offers. 3 days later we were under contract. A month later we were homeless. For the past year or more we’ve been weighing different places to move next. We also considered being vagabonds for a while. We looked at NE Oregon, various towns in Montana.
Over July 4th weekend a realtor in Butte, Montana sent us a listing in town that we’d looked at previously, liked, and that had unexpectedly come back on the market. The next morning we drove over, pulling our trailer behind us. We put in an offer and went camping for the weekend. That strategy of making a move and then leaving town seems to do the trick. By the end of the weekend we were under contract. Suddenly we were hitched to another community, more house projects, and the other laborious half of making a move – the moving in part. In early August we made it official, moved to our new home town, and started getting settled.
It’s an emotional roller-coaster, filled with moments of doubt, but every day feels better as we meet people, explore new trails and terrain, become familiar with the contours and quirks of our new house and the neighborhood that surrounds it. The other day I was driving down W. Platinum, our new street, with the window down and sneezed. “Bless You!” someone yelled from their front yard. This town’s alright, I thought.
More to come on our transition. As for the future, who the hell knows!? Anything could happen . . . right?
And stay tuned for my September on the Salmon report. We will be paddling top-to-bottom from the Middle Fork to the Snake during the entire month!!! Maybe that will clear the fog.