Wilder Still

Your face seems kind. But your eyes – they’re beautiful. They’re wild, crazy, like some animal peering out of a forest on fire.” – Charles Bukowski

As everyone else is talking of fall and circling our only gas station on Main Street with a sweat slicked face, bitter, I have the summertime glow – you know, the kind that I imagine pregnant women have.

When it was negative twenty degrees and I could barely blink without it being painful I would dream of days like today. Golden brown, hot air on my face. There’s even something dreamy about writing of summer, too. Bare, bronzed skin, jumping in any icy cold ditch and being completely dry moments later. We have but little time left, Montanans!

And so with the heat we’ve inevitably come upon fire season. So far several (we can only see two from our place) are controlled lightning burns, causing our skies to wear the smudge of smoke across our valley. Thankfully our air hasn’t been compromised, yet. We’re still clear blue and beautiful, watching from a distance.

Our little corner of the world is the same as it’s been. Our pastures are ever ticking with irrigation sprinklers, the horses are ever munching on what grass we have left, the goats are sunbathing, the chickens (minus our Fiona, who was grabbed by a family of six foxes that have settled in our log pile) are pecking along for a few short hours per day, careful not to fall victim to our uninvited furry guests, and the dogs are enjoying the cool of our home brought in through the windows each night.

The fox problem has been a thorn in our sides, letting light touch the dark places I never knew existed in me before. We decided to purchase a rifle on the way back from our honeymoon and face the issue head on. And so we sit, every evening, and watch. We’re always chased out by the loss of light. They wait for the drape of night to fall and award them another hunt. Sometimes they wake us with their calls echoing through the midnight air.

Ever since we planted our roots in Montana I’ve been on a learning curve. It’s challenged me physically and mentally. The circle of life and how to coexist with animals and the land in this wild of a place is so apparent here. It’s unavoidable. It’s made me rationalize, it’s a steady hand balancing the scale of love and fury, it’s mourning every loss, and appreciating the smallest, simplest of gifts. Whenever I think I might have it figured out, Montana shows me that it’s wilder still.


Smoke blowing across the valley from the Bitterroot Mountains


Waist high grass, because it’s heaven


Our rescue girls, how sweet are they?




2 thoughts on “Wilder Still

  1. Lisa Gordon says:

    Chelsea, I am so glad that you and Chris are okay, and that the fires are keeping their distance.
    I do understand what you say here about the circle of life. I know that some things are just “supposed” to be, but so many of those things are so hard to swallow, especially when it comes to losing animals.

    I LOVE the last picture here, and your little girls are just precious.

    Have a wonderful week!


    • Chelsea Lyn Drake says:

      Thank you! We had some cooler nights recently, which has made the smoke rise away from the mountains. Fires are still burning but the smoke has cleared, for now. Such an interesting time in Montana!


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