The Big Skies of Montana

Thursday, July 9th, 2009
The Big Skies  

Tuesday, July 7th, evening. I am afraid to breath as to not break the silence we are within, I am afraid to breath as to not break the present reality, I don’t want this to be a Dream. As we sit near Reed Point, Montana, courtesy of a kind reader and I know new Friend of ours “Michael”, I realize that we have finally reached that space I was mentally and physically searching for. It is a capricious facet of our Life this constant search. But here it is, liberating my Soul and allowing me to again feel and think freely. Have I become so sensitive to my surroundings? It seems that I have as I feel cursed now forever to never come back to what was once another reality of mine. How? How can we maintain this constant balance day after day? This constant pursuit of what I call my own Universe.

The driveway  
flower flower

This is “The Northern Oasis” as Michael calls it and as I also would. Him and I have been corresponding for a while, many photos, winter ones, summer ones, and the pursuit of my vibes, this sense that this would be the prize behind any picked door has materialized as being the one searching for. This is Big Country, and this morning while drinking my eternal home roasted coffee, I realized why they say “The Big Skies of Montana”. It seems indeed as the skies have propagated, the world here is bigger and larger than Life. The crowds have been left behind and so are the noises incessant always through the past moments spend in Wyoming’s Parks. I hear the wind, I heard the rain and the hail yesterday, I hear the deer and it’s fawn munching away near by, I hear the birds of all kinds, and most of all, I hear my thoughts and the content heartbeat within my chest no more suppressed by my surroundings.

Stage Coach stop  

The roads are dirt, the flowers of all colors are blooming so graciously waving incessantly by the gentle cool winds, neighbors are far, I cannot help myself feeling as this is the mirror of my own “Oasis” in Texas. A cooler one this time of the year without mosquitoes, a perfection laid out so simply without fanfare, carpets of greens and more greens with their endless hues. I know, I really know what I want now. It is nothing. Nothing but to stand on this soil furnished by Mother Nature. I want to hear myself think as suddenly the padlock seems to have vanished, dissolved by this magical key, this miraculous wand that has found the combination holding me captive in a space where I felt not quite so comfortable.

Stage Coach House  
Stage Coach House Stage Coach House

“Reed Point” is the little town about 10 miles from here as we rode in this afternoon. We first stopped at this old building on the way, one made out of rocks from years past, hosting the only mode of transportation available at the time “the Stage Coach”. I walked around, I stood there, I could hear the horses, I could feel the wheels rolling on this ground yet rough and bumpy at the time, I saw the smiles of the few waiting for their Friends, maybe of Family or a letter, a box filled with goods so needed within this hard, harsh and raw environment. The prairie laid out ahead of me, the horizon same as years past, nothing has changed and yet so much has only not too far from here. I find myself having a choice now searching for that stage as I feel so restored, this landing of Life I maybe thought was lost forever. I now know it is here, and there, and all in between. I just have to find it, always, the constant search as it will be within this vast Country of ours.

carriage house f  
rollers spring

Wednesday, July 8th, morning. I am up early today. I witnessed the sunrise and felt so lucky to be again around for it. Another day it seems like I have been given to maybe make it through as the past ones, the ones ago stamped “done”, carrying away for ever their own “moments” of their “now’s”. I hear Bozeman is a nice town, maybe not a choice I would have picked today, but it has become a must to go back and see a Dentist for this root canal which I thought was a done deal, however has flared up bringing on a constant pain throughout my awaken moments. Who would have known that a regular Dentist does not take care of a root canal that has been done. There are now specialists who fix “bad” root canals. I almost asked with some humor if this specialist specialized in upper or lower teeth? I am going in for an exam as the cost to redo a root canal is much more than the original procedure. I really, meaning really, don’t understand. I have given up trying to, will await to see what the results are, maybe an infection which would be welcome and cured with antibiotics, the other scenario to redo this tooth only costs $1100!!! Bad joke… Will just have to have it pulled if this was the case and soon a liquid diet might appear to be a must on the horizon!!! After all, that is what they did, the travelers on that Stage Coach.

Reed Point  

Evening. We rode in to Bozeman, we rode back a bit lighter. I can’t figure out if the wallet is or my mouth as the cost of pain is dear. An “endodontist”, even my spell check does not recognize that word. But that is what Dr Karl does, period. He seemed very enthusiastic about his profession as expressing himself with a lot of passion “that is all I do all day… root canals”. Well, not this one, the tooth was so bad that it should have never initially been done. I appreciated his honesty. So it is gone now, and as long as I keep my mouth closed I don’t seem to have aged too much. This bill will go to my first Dentist in Moab with an X Ray asking for compensation. But I just remembered… we always sign that paper, that Life away Document getting them off the hook for any possible future complications. Wishing myself much luck now. Will file that one under “miscellaneous”. And yes, it hurts.

Main Street House  
Stae Bank Stae Bank

But, back to yesterday’s wandering in Reed Point which is a town that has a genuine feeling of the Wild West, and is one of the smallest communities along the Yellowstone River. It was a booming little town in the early part of the century with 54 operating businesses. Most of the surrounding area was homesteaded and after a three year drought and realization by the homesteaders that they needed more than the 320 acre allotment in order to make a living in this area, they picked up and moved on further West. The little town began its slow demise at that time.

Hotel Montana  
Hotel Montana Hotel Montana
Hotel Montana  
trash can  

The focal point of this town is the Hotel Montana. Built in approximately 1909, this two story brick building was originally “Walkers Store”, a mercantile that sold anything from farm equipment to fancy bloomers from New York. Upstairs was a doctor’s office, a lawyer’s office and living quarters of the Walkers. The downstairs was always a mercantile or general store and in later years a grocery store. The upstairs was also at some time turned into a boarding house for students and teachers, and in later years into three separate apartments.

Main Street House Main Street House

It was purchased in 1994 by long time Reed Point residents Russ and Connie Schlievert. At the time, the downstairs had been a grocery store that was closed up three years prior to their purchase, and the upstairs was full of tenants in the three apartments. After about a year of using the downstairs as a warehouse for antiques and running the apartments, Russ and Connie decided to use their great store of antiques and Russ’s extensive collection of old west saloon items to create the building as it used to be. The project, of course, cost three times their original estimate, and took approximately 18 months to complete. And completed they did, and opened it as the Hotel Montana in 1997. Everything used to create Hotel Montana is antique and original and was collected from many other old buildings, in Montana primarily, and put together here. But again it was sold not long ago.

Towers Towers

I learned all this from reading about the Town, but learned even more by chatting with a couple locals. Controversial stories, controversy in a town of 96. One Lady living across the street told me that the new owners through their ignorance totally ruined it trying to redo certain aspects of it. The Gentleman from the Antique store told me that since trying to apply for new licenses, the electrical, the plumbing, the kitchen, all was not properly done in the past and was not up to code as they have now run out of money trying to fix it.

train track  
train track Train track

The “sheep run” here is the big yearly event, there is an RV Park right by the Freeway, a Restaurant Bar Saloon all in one, and a small gas station which only sells regular low octane fuel. I like the little town, the Bank which has been rebuilt is now a private Home, it all feels so genuine in the midst of progress overtaking others town into the present century.

antique store  
antique store  

“The Reed Point Community Club’s annual ‘Great Montana Sheep Drive’ features hundreds of sturdy Montana bred woolies charging down the six blocks of the main street in an event some say is matched only by the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. The event also has a parade including the Shriner’s Band, floats, antique cars, covered wagons, horse groups and more. First, Second and Third place prizes are always awarded to parade entrants. Our parade has been written up as ‘The World’s Largest Small Town Parade’. Let us not forget, during the day there are over 70 vendors lining the main street and a special area of Children’s Rides and Petting Zoo. To end the fun filled day, don’t miss the evening ‘Street Dance’ with live music” Source from Montana Official State Travel Site.

Fire Station Sheep Drive

Till next time, from the Big Skies of Montana… be and stay well.

the view  

Merchandise on Smugmug, Photos and Free “e-card” on my new Zen  Gallery

Your support will help us continue these endless chapters you read. It will be more than greatly appreciated.

Ara & Spirit

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7 Responses to “The Big Skies of Montana”

  1. ladytxn Says:

    Sorry to hear about your continuing toothache problems, and I hope that it is now taken care of. Was glad to read that you have found your “northern oasis”.
    “We learn by going where we have to go; we arrive when we find ourselves on the road walking toward us.”
    That’s how we know we’ve found a home, I think.
    Safe travels always to you and Spirit.

  2. Gail Says:

    Montana, you capture it so well. It’s the one place that I’d think of moving too. Heading to the TN, Monday, we’ll be thinking of you!

  3. mq01 Says:

    it seems as though you may have reached zen Ara, for now anyway… 😉
    be well, enjoy, and here’s to hoping that the toothache is now cleared away.

  4. Bill Wood Says:

    Ara, I just love reading your blog and the pictures are icing on a great cake.
    Hope to see you when we take our annual trek to BB in the fall.

  5. mszula Says:

    Ara, You should check out the folk festival in Butte this weekend. Website: Camping costs $5 at the rodeo fairgrounds and there is a free shuttle.

  6. chessie Says:

    As you read this, I figure it will be morning, Ara…if so, I am wishing I could sit with you near a fire…smelling your fresh ground beans, simmering and perking in their pot….MMMMM

    I’m lost now Ara…I’ve never experienced the sort of “Oasis” feeling you are describing about Montana….where the simple act of breathing brings hitches that drag in your chest…fearful of disturbing the peace……Usually, I’m able to “understand” the feelings you discribe…but…this simple feeling of solitude and joy…seems far beyond the inspirations that have driven me to seek beauty…Yes Ara….your drive is deeper, more desolate than any I have known in my life…I’m not sure how it makes me feel when I read these words of yours above…with the exception of joy for you…I still seek to compare the ache you know…for the one I know…but I fully realize…with the description you give about your time on the range in Montana…what I know and what you know…are not on a comparable level….rarely even close these days with your writing.

    You’ve found a wonderful little town to photograph Ara…the weathered boards I suspect know as much about your inner soul as the rest of the nature surrounding you as you camp….I’m glad your free of the pain that has been haunting you with the bad tooth…but suspect there is now a “ghost” pain of the tooth still following you as the tortored gum and jaw bone heals…no fun there…

    I’ve been reading the weather report Ara, the cold fronts in that area, and I realize…you must be a bit cold now and then…I will send out to the universe, thoughts of radiating heat for the area…feeling cold is quite tiring…after a while, it seems to settle too deep in the bones…

    Ara…time to go…
    Yes, be well…scratches for Spirit…hugs for you…

  7. joe Says:

    I’m hoping your tooth issue has resolved itself. Tremendous pics of the old town.

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