Wednesday, November 3, 2010
"Something's lost but something's gained
in living every day." --Both Sides Now
I had a house in Montana once, an oddly designed, cedar-sided structure perched on a mountain bench in the far northwest corner of the state. It was a sometimes-home, a place I fled to whenever I could. It sat at the top of a serpentine gravel road that rose gently from the river valley below, a ribbon wrapping the mountain. I shared the place with the bears, and the mountain lions, and the less intimidating but still mischievous skunks, coyotes and, toward the end of our time there, wolves.
I trained Thomas there, a small pup learning how to live with me on trails through a pine forest.
Montana was the place I've been chasing since childhood, a return to a land of giant, snow-capped peaks my parents took me to see when my mind was still new. One spring day a couple of years ago I left it, loading the dogs up in the truck, closing and locking the gate behind me as I always did, and driving down the mountain.
I had no idea I'd never see it again.
I didn't know it as I closed the last gate behind me, but my life was about to blow apart. It would be the most terrifying, painful thing ever to happen to me. It would be the best thing that ever happened to me. It was the beginning of my own Phoenix Process.
But still -- still -- I ache for Montana. It's an enduring loss, a heavy price I paid to gain something profoundly valuable -- myself and my life. But I still chase the mountains. I know I'll find them again. I just don't know where, or when.