The far mountains
Jan. 31, 2020
by Ivan Raconteur

Anyone who has done any driving in Montana has probably experienced this.

You’re traveling along a straight stretch of highway, and you get your first glimpse of the mountains rising majestically from the plains.

You clap your little hands together and say to yourself, “Oh good, I’m almost there.”

At least that’s the kind of thing I say. We writers talk to ourselves a lot.

A couple hours later, you are still driving along the flatlands, and your destination remains just as tantalizingly far away as it was when you first saw it. This has something to do with the scope of the place. They don’t call it Big Sky Country for nothing.

I experience the same kind of thing every year about this time, only the destination in this case is not mountains, but the balmy breezes and green grass of spring.

We’ve been traveling through this winter wasteland for months, and yet it seems like our vernal objective is no nearer than it was when we started.

I’m tired of having to put on a coat every time I step outside. I’m weary of having to shuffle along like a nonagenarian penguin to avoid taking a toss on the skating rinks that pass for parking lots at this time of the year. I yearn for the days when the only ice I see will be in my highball glass.

And still it drags on. The bitter breezes blow, and for most of the day we are draped in darkness.

Like a drive across Montana, the destination, which in this case is springtime, is elusive, and remains just out of reach.

I might not mind so much, were it not for the fact our summers race past far too fast.

If there were at least some semblance of balance between the seasons, it might not bother me so much.

But that’s not how things work here in the land of eternal winter. Oh, we know spring will arrive eventually, should we live that long, but we are equally convinced that we had better be ready to pounce the moment it gets here.

From the time the first bud of springtime emerges, the clock will be ticking, counting down the seconds until the start of autumn.

Perhaps that makes us appreciate summer here in the northland. When it comes to warm weather, there just isn’t very much of it, and the scarcity makes it even more precious.

For now, we can dream about spring, but the only mountains we are likely to see any time soon are mountains of snow.

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