I’m Ruined, By The Way

This was a day that started all wrong.  A day of driving and dealing with crowds and traffic.  A day of frustration and irritation.

At least that’s how it started…

How it ended?

It’s been fucking stunning.

I don’t use that word very often — stunning, not fucking…I use that one all the fuckin’ time — but when I do use it, I mean it.

The greens were lush and vibrant, bright and alive.  The grass and trees absolutely bursting with new growth.  The black rock and soil of the mountainsides rising in stark contrast above the valley floor, capped by the still-white peaks.  A sky as blue as a newborn’s eyes with just a hint of clouds to provide some contrast and context.

If you’re religious — or even if you’re lapsed and fallen, like me — it’s a reminder that the entire world really is a cathedral.  There was a sense of peace and serenity, to go with the feeling of purpose that seemed to permeate the air itself.

It was magic.

Okay, so what the heck does that have to do with the title of this post?

I went into town today.  When you live in a village of a couple of hundred, by the way, going into town is a necessary deal.  Now, instead of going to my preferred town of under 20,000, I went all the way into Bozeman.

Shit, I thought just seconds after getting off the highway, this is as bad as LA!

Okay, I grew up in LA, so I know just how stupid and wrong is that comparison, but it was still what I felt at the time.

Cars everywhere, driving like nutjobs…

People everywhere, crowding and talking and in general irritating the living crap out of me…

Smells and sounds and a feeling I haven’t felt since I left “civilization” behind…

I hated it.  I hated every single second of it.

I cursed and cussed and stressed until I realized I can never go back to that kind of life.

Not to go all hippy-on-a-commune on you, but my days of living in a place like that are pretty definitely over.  I can’t do it anymore.

But even that wasn’t what made me realize I was ruined.  Nope, it was the drive home.

South of Livingston, Montana lies a place called Paradise Valley.

The greens and blacks…

The whites and blues…

The smell of fields freshly mown for hay…

The pace of life determined by…well, by life itself rather than by the artificial urgencies that so characterized my morning.

That is how I realized I was ruined.  How the hell could I ever leave this?  How could I leave the wilderness and the fields?  The bears and the wolves?  The elk and the bison?  It’s all right outside my damned front door.

Sometimes, living in the middle of all this, it can be easy to take it all for granted.  It can all become “commonplace”, and so be overlooked and forgotten.  But then…

But then…

But then, you have a moment of magic.  You have a glimpse of perfection, and you remember just what the hell it is that truly matters.  You can keep the cities and the cars and the crowds, thank you very much, I’ll take a few seconds of perfection — a moment that’s fucking stunning — over all of that.

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