Sometimes the Ninemile Valley, my Montana sweet spot, grabs me by the shoulders and gives me a solid shake.
“Wake up!” she shouts. “Look around!”
On this first day of 2011, I did just that.
An icy-blue sky welcomed the new year and with the thermometer registering -3 degrees, we had to get outside. A gleaming white day with a recent, brilliant snowfall beckoned us like a siren we couldn’t resist. The dogs leapt and pranced as I layered and bundled. With tails wagging wildly, slapping and bruising my shins, I hurried into my boots and jacket and mittens. We tumbled out of the backdoor and off the deck and into the snow.
That first deep breath was like a gulp of ice water…fresh and crisp and sharp. We opted for the main road, snow packed and clear and bright with sunshine. A winter meander, I knew, would bring good karma for the coming months. On this quiet and frigid day, only an occasional truck passed. We ambled up valley, drinking in the winter landscape and examining fresh tracks in the snow.
It never gets old, living in rural Montana. Weather and subtle light and seasons weave with trees and mountains, reminding Ninemile residents that our quota of luck ran out the day we moved to the valley. The rest is simply a bonus, which is how I feel each day I wake and look out the window.