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Published: August 15th 2020
Hey all. We had a nice afternoon and evening here at the Big Timber KOA. Pleasant temps. A constant breeze. The white noise background of cottonwood leaves blustering about in said breeze. The nearby and regular passings of freight trains. The distant hum of the motorway. All that. Sally cooked hot dogs on her twig stove. We had salad and chips and dogs, quintessential camping food. We eventually settled in for the night.
With time to catch our breath on this cold Saturday morning, it seems wise to stop and assess the various rational™, logical™, think-infested "reasons" we have for even doing this Montana wild hack in the first place. As I said at the beginning, while part of this quest feels like answering a call, our minds have also searched for and gathered together some rational justifications for our actions.
1) Climate: As many times as we've tried, Sally and I are just not well suited to the sodden, swampy, soup-like atmosphere known as a standard North Carolina summer. We've both longed for cooler, drier climes for a long time. And I've been hankering to reacquaint myself with snowmobiles, a major part of my youth. While we're uncertain, at this juncture, whether we're all heading into a runaway global heatwave or the next Grand Solar Minimum, Montana seems a good place to find what we prefer for now. So far, we've found temps and air much more to our liking, though we've been surprised by how many Montaners (Mountaineers? Moontanners?) say they don't get much snow where they live.
2) Population Density: It seems that pretty much every problem or downside of our current culture is exacerbated by large numbers of people. Montana is on the low end of the population density curve. Wyoming is even more so, being the least dense state in the Union. That means fewer cell towers and less EMFs. Less traffic. Less glyphosate. Less noise and hustle and bustle and madness. More places to get away. More wildlife. More birds. More bugs. All of that. So far, this seems to be the case. Though we've spent a fair amount of our time here on Interstates and in towns and cities, we've also driven through wide expanses of nothingness and nobody. Cool.
3) Proximity to the Center: If, as seems to be the case, we're now all witnessing the increasing unraveling of the dominant global culture, as least as it has manifested in the United States, it seems smart to position oneself farther from the political and population centers of said culture. Empires tend to fall apart at the edges first, with the unraveling working it's way into the center. Being closer to the edge might increase one's chances of escaping the madness the center will continue to manifest as it seeks more and more control as things fall apart. The zombies of the urban corridors will have to walk a long ways to eat our brains. We're also physically close to "the edge" in terms of being near the US-Canada border. Not that Canada will escape the madness entirely, but that it might be more a situation of "madness light," because Canadians. Time will tell. I can imagine Maria and myself and the rest of the Von Trapps one day making our way across the Alps to freedom, or at least for a more favorable exchange rate.
4) Social/Political: As this culture, or this nation, circles the drain, we can imagine, and indeed are seeing, increases in social polarization, racial tension, political madness, economic meltdown, fear mongering, cheer mongering, and even sneer mongering. Indeed, there are clearly major forces at work seemingly bent on heightening the fear and weaponizing human beings to keep them at each others' throats. Will this flame up into full-out uncivil war? Will we just hunker down into The Great Depression 2.0? Will we see more and more protests and riots and burnings and demolitions and take-overs? Who knows? What we know, or think we know, is that there seems to be less "nanny state" here, more self-sufficiency, more resilience, and more demand for the freedom to make one's own choices. The way they do real estate here is a case in point. Imagine, buyers and sellers actually meeting and talking with each other like adults? It feels so much more human. No need for us to be protected and coddled by realtor intermediaries, treating each other as competitors or even enemies. We're all just people here, right? The higher speed limits are another example of this. And the same goes for the response to the alleged pandemic here. Many of the mountain states did not issue statewide lockdown orders. And Sally has read the minutes and postings from various small-town city councils, which show that they comported themselves here, those who think there's a "deadly thingy" at all, with more reasonable if suspicious caution and the freedom to make personal choices.
5) Beauty: We got yer mountains here. And yer badlands. And yer foothills. And yer trout streams and yer high mountain lakes. We got her moose, yer elk, yer antelope, yer mule deer, yer bears, yer wolves, yer coyotes, yer eagles, yer herons, yer mountain lions, and yer western meadowlarks. We got yer square dancing, yer contradancing, yer country line dancing, yer cowboy boots and Stetson hats and bolo ties on a Saturday night. We got yer cottonwoods, yer Doug firs, yer Aspens, yer Ponderosa pines, yer Lodgepole pines, and of course, the Larch. We got yer big skies. We got yer big guys. We've even got yer big pies. What more could you want?
I'm sure I'm forgetting some important points, and trust that Sally will chime in as needed. Suffice it to say that we're here not only because we felt called, and not only to create some sort of landing spot or bug-out place for our people as thinks unravel, but maybe because we just get to live someplace we really want to live now, a place where "the weather suits my clothes," as the great Harry Nilsson sang. I've had a deep love for outerwear most of my life. This is a place where I can actually put it to use.
It's freezing here this morning. Sally has made coffee on our twig stove, but we're still shivering. Time to go find a breakfast spot and a bit of heat, until such time as the sun reaches our campsite.
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