“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.” – John Steinbeck
It seems fitting that I welcome you all “home” this week in particular. I’ve been preoccupied – as I’ll always be around this time – writing for the magazine I work for. The stories I’ve been burrowing my nose into are stories about home. I want them to feel like a cozy pair of socks on a clean coffee table, taste like a cup of chamomile tea, and smell like a cinnamon caramel swirl candle. I want them to be the very essence of home despite their differences in angle and subject. It’s what I want this entry to be as I sit in this exact scene.
Chris and I came to Montana almost two years ago. First, as two lucky adventurers hitching a ride on the coattails of our wild dream as we were filmed for an episode of HGTV’s first season of Living Big Sky. And again when we’d seen too much. We were smitten – completely hopelessly, uncontrollably in love with Montana. So we packed up our lives in NYC and said goodbye, going home for the first time, together.
In the gap between then and now we’ve purchased a house and made it a home. We’ve found our place cradled between the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains and dived head first into homeownership and farming and ranching. It’s meant these things to us: never needing the dog leash, hammering nails into the walls, changing the paint colors, bringing the horses home, building a shelter for them, bringing chickens home, building a coop for them, bringing a cat home, building a window cat door for him, setting the table with a cloth placemat and napkin for the delicate eating of one lone perfect free range egg from your own backyard chickens. And these things: chopping and stacking wood, never paying a heat bill, building a fire pit, roasting marshmallows, sleeping out in the yard under a glowing big night sky full of sparkling stars and knowing you’ve wished upon them for this. We’ve seen these stars through the steamy air from the hot tub when we were high schoolers and didn’t know what would become of us. I guess what they say is true – the Northern star does always lead you home.