Winter Saunter

Thankfully, I’m not easily intimidated by winter weather driving – I mean really, I have a Subaru for goodness sake, this is, in part, what they’re made for. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times when it would be ill-advised to venture out, but I did not deem today to be one of those days.

Instead, I labeled today’s blustery conditions and smoke-machine-esque ice-marbled roads as a prime time to uphold my self-proclaimed status as a gal who enjoys pushing against the commonly held feminine norms, such as exists around: traveling solo, driving in inclement weather on sketchy roads, and eating out in public with only the company of a good book and writing supplies.

After an hour spent at the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, I landed at the Dixon Mercantile, a place so delightfully quaint that I instantly felt right at home.

There’s something extremely satisfying and life-affirming in skirting collective modes of operation, such as heading north on a solo saunter on Sunday February 3rd in near white-out conditions, and living to tell the tale.

P.S If you live in the area or are ever in the area of western Montana, the Dixon Mercantile (in Dixon, MT) is only 40 miles from Missoula and they are almost solely only open on Sundays from 9-2 for brunch. The owner Laura is super great, the food was really good, and they make homemade fresh bread and pastries. Need I say more?

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Yesterday, I spent 5 uninterrupted hours writing, pretty well glued in the same spot the whole time with only the occasional tea making and bio break to incite bodily movement away from my keyboard. It was glorious.

Today, I road on up north, as any asphalt adventurer knows, it’s unwise to disobey the call of the open road when it summons thee. I followed tire tracks instead of painted lines and in an area thick with mountains, I managed to see none all the way to Arlee and then Dixon.

To be fair, I did consider not heading out on my drive-about prior to leaving the house, once I was confronted with the state of weather happening outside. But it was only about 2% of me that sat in question; the other 98% urged me eagerly onward ho.

Besides, I DID go to all the trouble of running a brush through my hair like two times before putting a winter hat on AND putting on cold-hardy clothes over the top of my pajamas. I was also well equipped with the essentials of winter travel: a fresh Contigo full of tea, my camera, writing supplies, a Subaru, and a good attitude.

And, I figured, one never grows familiar and accustomed to a thing, if said thing is never done.

Sometimes, what’s called for is to foster connection with members of my beloved tribe of humans, as I did last weekend. And sometimes, what’s called for is to bolster the relationship I have with myself, as I’ve been doing this weekend.

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Connection

 

Lake Como, Montana

Lake Como, Montana

              Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard. ~Standing Bear                     

To become more connected to ourselves, others, our surroundings, nature, and the greater wide world I think is what life is all about.  Cultivating a mindfulness practice is all about connection.  Dwelling happily in the here and now is directly related to how connected we are in the present moment.

Yesterday I went to Lake Como in the Bitterroot valley (located in western Montana).  Along with my mom, stepson, and one of his friends we went on a hike partway around the lake.  We were hoping to make it to the waterfall but we had to let go of our destination due to lack of time (If you zoom in to the pic above you’ll be able to see the waterfall across the lake).  Alongside the lake trail were wild roses deep pink and fragrant, hillsides splayed with long blades of thick green grass, inclined fields of great craggy rocks, and rust colored trunks of Ponderosas.  While walking along a nature trail it is wonderfully difficult to not be absorbed into one’s surroundings.  Connection is inevitable within the embrace of nature – sometimes it might take a little while to allow the weights we carry to be put down but, if given the proper amount of time, connection comes quite organically.

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Buddha Garden

Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, MT

Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, MT

 

Yesterday I stopped by the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas, in Arlee Montana, for a brief visit.  It has been a while since last I’d been there and as the garden is an ongoing and unfolding project every visit yields new developments.  If you are interested in the garden please go to: http://www.ewambuddhagarden.org/

 

Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee,  Montana

Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, Montana

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