I and my husband moved in the summer of 2008. Our children had graduated college and had wandered away on their own paths of life. So we were empty nesters looking for a place to land. And in his promise to me when we moved away, my husband brought me back to the place I called home as a child … Montana.
I’m not sure I was born in the exact place where we eventually settled. But I was born in Billings Montana and my family was still in Montana. In fact my mom and dad were both born and bred Montanans from the get go. They were both born in the vicinity of Ballantine and Pompey’s Pillar Montana and both were raised in the area. They were married at the young ages of 18 and 15 respectively and pretty much raised our family around the area. We wandered a bit as a family but we never left Montana. My mom even pointed out one day where the old homestead that she lived at was. Of course the house or barns weren’t there anymore. But I could imagine it as I gazed at the bucket that sat out in the middle of that big empty pasture. And my dad lived just down the road from her place. She and dad have told me many a story about their child hood and courtship from the day they first met and dated to the houses they lived in when they were first married. And that is a whole book in itself, which I hope to write someday.
And as fate would have it,the new home place is just down the road from the old places. My sister found it for my Mom and Dad almost 25 years ago. The place had been dry land, and thistles when they first came to look at it, but years later when they gave us the opportunity to settle across the yard from them at the home place, it was full of apple trees, choke cherry trees, pine trees, aspen trees, elm trees, roses, flowers, gardens, grass, cows, horses, goats, pigs, dogs, cats chickens and people. Just a few people. Our families. And all of this was there from the hard work my mom and dad and my sisters and families had put into that thistle ridden spot of empty land.
When you drive up the hill to our place you realize the hard work that must have gone into making the land what it is today. Most of the apple and choke cherry trees that are planted there were grown from seed by my dad. Mom said that when Dad was finished eating an apple he would bury it in a small pot to see if it would grow. And did they grow. At one time I am sure they had over thirty small apple trees growing in pots. And you can see the results to this day. There are apple trees all over the place. And the apples we get each fall from them are delicious. Our road drives through two rows of pine trees, hand planted and hand watered by my folks. By hand watered, I mean carrying buckets of water up and down the hill for every tree. I have experienced it first hand since that was what we did when we first moved here. Planted trees and watered them by hand. So I can appreciate the beautiful pine and aspen trees that stand as proud guardians of the place.
The home place started out as a pig farm. My folks had almost 600 pigs at one time. My mom loved pigs. Dad…well he tolerated them for the sake of my mom. Now that is true love! He was farmer and a cow man through and through. He he loved his plants(trees, flowers, grass, garden and crops.) To this day he grows the best ears of corn on this place. And he loved his cows. But he helped my mom raise pigs. The pigs pretty much paid for the place until the year they didn’t. It was a lot of hard work for my mom and dad. And even though my mom loved her pigs, it was just too much to handle. So the pigs were sold and Dad kept his cows. He and Mom still have around twenty-five to this day and each January or February there are little calves wobbling and running and jumping in the corrals heralding in the coming spring. I have the wonderful opportunity of seeing this, since my house is across from the corrals where it all happens!
Our house is that last place before you look out at all the landscape of grassland/dryland/prairie. There are miles and miles of rolling hills full of grass and rocks. It’s hard to believe that the home place was once like that. I’ve seen coyotes and wolves run by. A few antelope trot by. The Canadian geese love to rest out there. In the fall the birds gather out there in large flocks and we watch as the murmurations ebb and flow over the landscape like large dark shadows. Sometimes in the winter you see a large snowshoe hare hopping around out there. And every spring we see three or four sand cranes strutting around. And I am sure there is more than my eyes see when I am not looking. We have watched dark storm clouds roll in on the horizon on hot summer days and have gazed at the icy crust of snow packed tundra in the cold winter months. But mostly I see the cows grazing. It is such a serene scene and something I will never tire of looking at.
I never realized how much I loved Montana until I moved out of it. I do have to put in a good word for Wyoming though. It was my home for twenty years and it was a good place to raise a family, but my heart still longed for Montana. I missed the fields and fields of corn and beets. I missed the smell of fresh-cut hay in the spring. And nothing compares to that smell of a field of hay after its been cut. I love watching the beets being dug and the corn being chopped. I love seeing the hay and straw bales out in the fields and the stacks covered with snow in the winter. I love watching the tractors till up the dark earth in the spring and fall. And I love watching the small calves, horses and goats being born in the spring. I love gathering eggs from my happy chickens each day and waiting and watching for my garden to sprout in the spring.
I know, I know you say that can happen any where. But Montana was where I was born and raised. It was where I lived most of my life. Montana was where I gathered my first egg, where I hoed my first beet row, where I stacked my first bale of hay, where I first learned how to feed cows, and where I first learned how to fall off a horse and drive a tractor. In Montana I canned my first quart of beans and actually plucked my first chicken. I started first grade in Montana and graduated high school in Montana. I first rode a bike down a dirt road to take my dad lunch out in the field in Montana.I fell in love in Montana, got married in Montana and had my first child in Montana.
That is why I love Montana. I was born and raised and grew up in Montana. It was and always will be my home and I am more than happy to grow old with Montana.
For as John Steinbeck once wrote: — ‘I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is love.’
Montana Winter by SKV
Lonely days of cold nothingness.
A chilled wind blows over the snow packed hills, whistling an eerie sound as it ripples over the icy crystals.
Its winter on the plains of Montana, when every creature shudders in bone chilling numbness and the trees stand in icy stillness.
Snow crunches under my boots in this winter stillness, as I walk out to feed the chickens.
Plumes of wood smoke dot the horizon and stream upward to mix with the winter clouds.
My warm breath mingles with the cold air causing icy puffs of vapor to rise and float away in the icy breeze.
My dogs peers out from their snow covered house not so anxious to come out and and greet me on this cold winter morning.
I glance before me, across the snow covered landscape and see no track left behind.
The snow..untouched, sparkles in the morning sun like a million tiny diamonds in a crystal maze.
And in this cold icy stillness of a Montana winter, I see the promise of
warm Montana spring days I know are soon come.
I met my husband in 1983 when I was about to give up on ever having someone to love in my life. We had both been down that rocky road so we both were a little hesitant about giving our whole life to each other. But apparently life had different plan because two years later we were married and had a beautiful baby girl. And two years after that our son was born.That’s when I started writing again. Still poetry, but a thought was beginning at the back of my mind. Why not write stories. So I wrote a childrens story. I never published it but I still have it and may someday publish it.
I found God the year my daughter turned 3 years old. Funny that I say I found God. I am sure he was there all along, I just didn’t notice him. But that is when I started writing christian poetry. I loved writing it because I loved my God. I still love my God to this day. There are times I feel like giving up but I know he is there taking care of me. Things may not turn out as I expect and there are hard times to get through but I feel comfort in knowing he is there to comfort me.
I cried a thousand, million tears for all the bad I”d done, My heart felt used and torn up from all the hurt I’d won. The battle for lost treasures I though I needed then, were coming back to haunt me again and again.
You came so quietly into my life with a love so very strong, You took my tears and wiped them dry…erased all I’d done wrong.
You took my heavy coat of worry, and said “I’ll wear it now.” “I love you my dear child, no matter what, no matter how.”
“My child I’ve been waiting to help you carry all, I’ve’cried when you cried, hurt when you hurt, felt each and every fall.”
I looked up at you on the cross with the burdens you gladly bore, I cried a thousand million tears for the heavy coat you wore.
Then you looked down and in your eyes I saw a love so true. My heart felt clean, my shoulders felt light, I felt so very new.
I realized I had not fought this battle for this treasure you had given. You gently took my hand and said, “There’s more for you in heaven.”
Those years I realized how much God had given up for me and given me. He gave me a life, a wonderful husband two sweet children and the gift of writing. Because that is what it is … a gift.
The Gift of Life
You gave me the greatest gift of all, the gift of life. But like a selfish child. I threw it down, And asked for more.
“But there is no more.” you said.
And I replied. “If that’s all there is to it, take it back!”
To which you answer was. “So be it. But you must know that there is more to life by your will only. And with each day the gift of life becomes more valuable, as you see fit. For the gift is not given to be thrown in the corner and forgotten. It is to be built upon with tools found along the way. And the only true builder is yourself. So if you should like this gift, I shall willingly give it to you, and no more. The gift of life is yours to keep and do with as you please. But remember there is no one to face the blame or collect the praise but you. And no one who can decide but you. It’s all up to you what you do with your gift of life.”
And with that you were gone. I looked down to find the gift at my feet. And I gently picked it up and held it to my heart.
And underneath the gift lay a brand new hammer and nails.
I put the hammer and nails in my pocket and started on my way.
This is my very first blog post in Word Press. I have to admit I am not a virgin blogger as I have various blogs floating through out the internet. But this is my very first blog post after I took on the title of book writer/author. Oh yes I know there are millions….. no zillions of book writers/authors out there. It seems these days every one wants to write a book. I guess I am one of those every ones.
Writing has always been an outlet for me. I started writing in about fifth grade when I wrote this poem in class. It went something like this.
We met beside the telephone post, the only one I could find, I looked into his eyes and smiled, he looked into mine, I touched his hair with my hand, he made a sweet,sweet sound, I’ll tell you, tell you all I can, It felt like soft sweet down. But all good things must come to an end, the way they always do, I put the little gray kitten down, and went on my way to school.
Ahhh! so sweet. From that day on I was hooked on writing. I loved it. I could use my imagination writing poems, thoughts and ideas. I took all the poetry classes, writing classes and English classes that I could take in high school. I mostly wrote dark poetry in my tween and teen years. But dark poetry about lost love and love and pain and all that stuff that comes with being a teenager.
I lost contact with the world of writing when I graduated high school. Oh there were a few sparse angry poems here and there but mostly I was learning how to live in the real world after high school. I tried college but that didn’t last. so to the workplace I went. And that is when I found my other muse. Sewing. I loved it. I worked in a drapery shop and enjoyed the joy of touching all those beautiful fabrics every day. I dated. I partied. I pretty much did what every young person let go into the real world does. But there was still something missing. Something inside of me wanted to be let out.
Stay tuned for my continuing story in my second post.