Once upon a time a girl from a concrete town in the North of England discovered inspiration in a book, planned a trip and found home. A place to breathe, to marvel and to dream. Now living closer to that dream, our family's heart travels the last few miles almost every day as we talk about our Last Best Place and tell each other "Love you more than Montana".
I bought this book in September 2000 from The Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Montana. Or rather, that is where I bought my first copy. I have read many, many books inspired by Montana, a love of the West, landscape, sky and family; to this day this remains my favorite book. Perhaps because on first reading, I was falling in love with the story and the land; but this book left me with an indelible mark. The writing is inspired. I find it amazing that in his preface Doig explains that when his manuscript returned from the first edit, only the smallest changes were recommended. When you read this book, when you share his life, you get that; it is written from the heart in such a pure and true way. This book moves you; to tears, to joy, to longing, to love, to appreciation, to treasure, to remember, to honor.
I decided last week, to re-read this book again. I wondered if the second read would live up to my first impressions; it is better, sweeter. Now, I read with a different perspective, not that first love for the land and the people, but with a deeper understanding of the landscape, the towns, the culture. I had the privilege of hearing Doig speak during a book tour; it was quite wonderful to listen first hand to his stories.
My second through fifth copies of this book were purchased on return from my inaugural trip to Montana and shared with my family. I wanted them to understand how I felt about the place, but also to understand how I felt about them.
I would be delighted to gift this book to someone, so you can discover this treasure for yourself. Leave me a comment/tweet/follow/heart, etc. and I’ll pick one person at random.
This giveaway will end on February 28th, 2012 at which point one of my children will randomly select one winner. To enter, please retweet/like/reblog or comment before that deadline.
Labellum | A contemporary flower boutique in Gallatin Valley, Bozeman
Remy Greco-Brault has worked as a floral and event designer in LA and NY; on many high profile events. Recently, she and her husband, Frederic, moved to Bozeman, Montana to open a contemporary flower boutique - Labellum Flowers - in the Gallatin Valley.
The Gallatin Valley is a magical place, it has been deep in my heart since I first visited 12 years ago; but I believe it might just have become even prettier.
From the album Little Mountain, out March 6, 2012.
If you love Big Sky; Montana, Mountains, Flowers, Fishing, Nature, Sunsets, your Grandfather, you will LOVE this video.
My Grandfather never set foot in the USA, never saw Montana. I remember thinking on my first visit how much he would have loved it; he was a passionate fisherman, loved a good western, had ‘green fingers’ and could love any plant back to wellness and strength and was a WWII veteran. A true hero; my hero.
Wolf Tracking in Northern Wisconsin by Peter Buchanan-Smith
The intent of this wolf tracking course was not to learn how to hunt or harm wolves, we were there to study and follow in their noble and mysterious footsteps. There was no guarantee that we would lay eyes on a wolf, and in all my preparations (we were assigned an extensive reading list a month prior) I had prepared myself for this inevitability. I left plenty of room for imagination.
Tracking is storytelling, it is the art of stringing fragmented and disparate marks into something with a beginning and end. You do not assume anything when you track, you work with the honest facts before you, armed only with your experience, some heavy wool trousers, copious layers, and a warm pair of winter boots. As a novice tracker the experience was often a humbling and frustrating one, but the gift of a good story was always there, somewhere, available to those willing to just look hard enough.
What qualifies as a good story in any tracker’s terms are the tracks that show something out of the ordinary, say a high speed pursuit which, with any luck, might lead him to an ultimate denouement: say a kill site. At the only kill site we found there was little left to the imagination in some sense, the literal explosion of detail was sensory overload. On our last day we tracked a male and female on a magical and meandering route through dense cedar bogs and over streams, and were rewarded with a day in the North woods I shall never forget, and the discovery of two perfectly formed wolf beds: the hair from their coats imprinted in exacting — almost artistic — form in the freshly fallen snow. I reached down and could swear I could feel the lingering heat from their bodies.
Every night, after a good hot meal, we’d gather around the fireplace and recount the day’s events. Many of us were complete strangers to start, but as the week progressed we came out of our shells and took delight in telling our stories, embellishing the details, going to great lengths to make sure that everyone understood just how moving our tracking experience had been. The time spent around the fire, listening to the stories, was almost as enthralling and enlightening as the time spent on the trail. It’s not often you get the excuse to stand in a beautiful snowy forest for hours on end and allow yourself to read and partake in so many beautiful stories.
This week-long wolf tracking course in Northern Wisconsin is a joint initiative between The Teaching Drum Outdoor School in Three Lakes Wisconsin, and Wilderness Awareness School based in Washington state. Two of the country’s top animal trackers David Scott and David Moskowitz (better known as “Dave & Dave”) were flown in to guide us in the field and the classroom. I recommend this course to anyone with a remote interest in wolves and wildlife habitat, no matter what your experience level might be.