Tag Archives: moving

Long Ago: Community Entry #23

From this nook in this little cabin in remote Montana...two characters lie on a beach in Mexico. That's what happens when you write a novel in winter...

As you may know, I am spending a few months in the dormancy of winter, working on a book. And, like last year at this time, I am offering my blog to you. Last year we looked into our Breaking Points and found community and grace in grief and vulnerability. This year we are looking into our past, and finding the weaving of community that stitches us to our present. I will be posting these pieces at These Here Hills. Their authors will be happy to receive and respond to your comments.  Here is the blog post I wrote about this subject.

Contest submissions closed. Winner will receive a scholarship to one of my upcoming Haven writing retreats in Montana, announced mid-February…

Now I am further stepping into the wilderness of Montana and the wilderness of writing. If you’d like to create haven for your creativity…come to a Haven Writing Retreat here in Montana. June, August, and September retreats are now booking and filling fast.  Email me for more info:  Laura@lauramunsonauthor.com

This gem reminds us that home truly is wherever you are.  And family is a community that only you define.  Please enjoy! 

yrs.  Laura 

p.s.  June Haven writing retreat is now booking and filling fast…  Click here for more info.

Long Ago: Community by Pamela Hammonds

If people ask where I was born, I naturally say “Indiana.” But if the question is worded differently, if someone asks, “Where did you grow up?” I’m much more likely to say “Alabama.” This is the story of how I got there.

When I was 20 and a college junior, I said, “I do” to a grad student with more ambition than heart who convinced me that he was the best thing that ever happened to me. Over the next five years, we would move four times and land in a small town in Alabama. When he returned home from work one day and announced yet another job opportunity awaited him in a neighboring state, I had to make a decision. Should I continue to follow someone who doesn’t respect me any more than I do myself? Or stay. For me.

I made one trip out of state to house hunt and became physically ill on my drive home alone. As the house in Alabama went on the market, I summoned the courage to tell him I didn’t want to move again. Although I’ve put much of our short life together behind me, this I remember distinctly. He said: “I made a commitment to my career long before I made a commitment to you and will go with or without you.” Wisely, I said, “Then go.”

As the moving company labeled boxes with “his” and “hers,” I watched a brown cardboard barricade go up between us. With my golden retriever’s heavy head in my lap, I sat on the kitchen floor and wept—too proud to return to Indiana, too scared to stay, too unsure I would survive anywhere.

But I did stay. I found an apartment and a job in the office of the local shopping mall and settled into a life with my pup and uncharted independence. My new boss and his dog, who lived in the same complex, made sure my dog and I walked safely each evening and sometimes invited us over for pizza and a movie. Or just checked in to make sure we were all right.

He wasn’t the only one concerned about my welfare. Many of the mall tenants became dear friends as we worked closely together, preparing for holiday events, summer sales and fashion shows. A couple years later, I would purchase a new white dress and gold bands at that mall and marry that kind man—who happened to be my boss.

When we made the move from two apartments to one house, packing up all our worldly goods—and two dogs—those same friends who worked with us welcomed us into our new home with gifts and good wishes. The bank manager had become my substitute mother and taught me that when life gets hard, bear in mind that “this too shall pass.” Our two sons would call her Mimi, as did all her grandchildren.

We no longer live in small town Alabama. The two babies we had when we lived there are now in college. But my twenty-fifth through thirty-fifth years were spent there. I made a lot of mistakes and missteps, but when it mattered most, I made the right choices. I chose the father of my children in that town. I chose to surround myself with good people like Mimi and Granddaddy, Steve and Claudia, Joel and Elizabeth, Vicki and Tommy and many more people who became family. Who took a scarred and scared 25-year-old into their flock and made her life better.

I haven’t lived in Indiana for nearly thirty years, never returned to live close to my ‘real family.’ But I find that wherever I live—California, Illinois, Texas, Alabama—I’m surrounded by family. People who love me whom I love in return. People who love my children like their own. My people. My family.

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The Smell of Snow

I recently found this piece I wrote over ten years ago…and it reminded me of how Montana has been my best teacher.  May it find you aware and with deep instincts you can trust this holiday season.

First day of hunting season. I awake to a hot crrr-ack in the field at dawn. It is the same hot crack of split wood. In its echo, the same sad promise of winter fuel.

It is not my husband. He won’t shoot anything with eyelashes anymore. I sit up in bed and think about this poacher, so lazy or maybe desperate for his buck that he has to sit illegally in my meadow in the dark, quite possibly in my driveway in the comfort of his truck. Maybe he can’t stand the hunt, not unlike my husband. Just needs to feed his family. I am not angry at this person. It is too complicated to be angry about the reasons for which one creature kills another.

It has been a stunning October, with sapphire skies everyday, like it thinks it’s August. The trees have taken their time, basking in their toward-dormancy-dance. The river birch first, and then the aspen and alder, and now larch needles fall in fair-haired rains. I take my two-year-old son down the stairs every morning, fling open the door and say, “Thank you,” to the day.  And he says, “Tenk yoo,” and we ignore the infestation of stink bugs and cluster flies clinging to our house, betting their lives on the exact reverse of this moment.

This morning I add to our thanks, “It smells like snow.”

“Snow?” He doesn’t remember.

Inside I make coffee and listen to NPR. It’s supposed to be 65 and sunny today. Same tomorrow. I shrug at my lack of sixth sense, and overcompensate by making the best cappuccino this side of the Rocky Mountains. At least I can think so.

Later, I am walking in the woods, despite the hunters. I insist that it smells like snow. I want to burn the reds and golds into my winter mind, which I know will become gray by February. I want to seal into it, the promise of spring; that the cold months might be full of good work. I pick up handfuls of larch needles and throw them over me the way I used to the oak seeds of my Midwestern youth, helicoptering through the air. The needles sift through smoky ozone from burn piles and wood stoves and land in my hair and I leave them there. I have to make friends with winter.

***
It’s the first sauna of the season over in Coon Hollow at my friends’ house. They have them most Sundays once the weather turns. Open house. Potluck. Take off your clothes and walk through the cold night in bathrobes holding lanterns. Go in to the octagonal cedar house with eucalyptus so strong your nose feels singed, take a seat on the top level if you dare, or acclimate on the lower level in the corner. Avoid the huge ticking wood stove with your bare body and greet the dim faces, flickering beards and hippie smiles in the lantern light. Push yourself to sweat it out. Lie slack-legged on a towel and do whatever you want with your eyes.

Modesty has no place here. You’d think it would get political but it rarely does. Mostly it’s talk about a pie auction at the Grange Hall or the back country ski conditions up toward Blacktail, or did you hear about the two women who got lost out for a ski and spent the night in a snow cave until their husbands found them the next morning — sang songs all night to keep their minds off the cold.

These are not people who are trying to prove anything to anyone; not even themselves. Maybe at first. But by now it is who they are, how they do things. These are people who want to keep their heads screwed on straight by keeping their fingers off buttons. They hate buttons. One of their daughters once said to me, “I love our outhouse — you don’t have to flush.” They have no running water, all wood burning heat, no indoor plumbing, no electricity — which means no TV, of course, and most of the time, they don’t eat meat.

Their son has a pet magpie that he rescued from the nest after its mother was killed by a raven, and he can whip your ass at any card game and stymie you with his very practical and somewhat mystical understanding of the way most everything works. Their daughter has read every Harry Potter book three times and loves her room because it has a canopy bed that she made out of birch snags and old tie-dye sheets. The mother makes soft instrument cases and the father is a blacksmith. They hike and bike and canoe all summer and ski and ski and ski all winter. I have never left their home once without a bagful of something they have grown in their garden or made in their oven.There is nothing this family can’t do. And so I figure I might ask them what they think: does it smell like snow to them?

The sauna is hot and most of us go out to the deck to sit steaming and naked in director’s chairs. Some are braver and rinse off in a cold-water-filled claw foot tub a few feet away. We hear whoops from them and I sit back while the rest talk snow.

One says, “It’s a little early, don’t you think.” This is not a question.

Another: “Oh, I remember snow on the ground on Halloween many years. And that’s in what — five days?”

Still another: “I think we still have some time yet.”

And another: “We better. I’m not done with my wood pile.”

“But does it smell like snow to anyone?” I peep. Afraid I am going to expose the side of me that has been pushing buttons all my life. I get a lot of maybe sounds.  Err, mmm, eehh.  It’s like I have asked a hunter where he bagged his buck.

Group consensus: “Doesn’t matter — it’ll come either way. Whether you smell it or not.” They laugh, knowingly. I feel small and controlling — trying to read such a thing as winter.

So it’s back in the sauna for those who can stand it. I take the top level. I want to bake everything out of me. The dying of autumn. The months without roses and soft earth. The trail rides over and the fishing reduced to auger holes in places where I can’t help feeling no human is supposed to stand. No strawberry stains on my children’s fingers. No wash up for dinner and seeing swirling dirt in the kitchen sink from an afternoon spent building fairy houses in the woods. No end-of-the-day dips in any number of lakes, coming up absolutely new. No loons flying over in the morning. No birds waking me up at all. I’ll have to look for the birds.  Feed them my pittance of sunflower seeds that sometimes woo them too far into my window panes so that they drop and freeze before they can become un-stunned.

I can make it through New Years, I think, stalwart in the Bahamian heat. I can probably make it through Valentine’s Day. But I am scared of the rest. Less than 75 days of sun in the Flathead Valley per year. And we have been hogs this October.

***
The next morning, before I open my eyes, I hear a question in my head from a dream child. I do not know her, but she feels like mine.

“When will it snow?” she asks.

“I don’t know,” I say.

“Yes you do,” she says.

“Soon, then,” I say. “Very soon.”

And I open my eyes, and the world is white.

 

 

 

 

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Break Me In, Montana

grizzly2
Break Me in, Montana by Laura A. Munson
chicago_skyline
I begged for this. This house. This land. This time. This husband and these children. I begged to know a place season for season. To use last summer’s spent perennials as winter mulch. To rake it off when the Lenten roses poke through. To know, finally, which one is the North Star, and use it to find my way home. I begged to feel my heart sink with the leaving V’s of geese. And become buoyant again with their return.
I did not know I was begging. All those years in cities. Chicago, New York, Boston, Florence, London, Seattle. I would catch myself in storefront windows and say yes, I am alive. I see myself here in the crowd. In that great outfit. Those fantastic shoes. And return to the apartment with the cockroaches and the blinking answering machine, ready to make my home in some glittering concert hall, some stark white art opening, some hushed mocha-toned new restaurant. I did not know I was begging for this when I dropped to my knees one night at the side of my bed like my grandmother used to, and said, please, please, bring me home.
Three weeks later my husband walked into our brand new Seattle house and said, “I just got a job in Montana. You would be able to write full time. We could have our kids there, and you wouldn’t have to work outside the home.”
So we left.
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I watched the Cascades until they were little harmless divots in the horizon, and
I cried all through the dry nothing of Eastern Washington and over the pass that brought me, for the first time, to the Flathead Valley.
Over a hill, and there it was: Flathead Lake to the south, the ski mountain in Whitefish to the North, the Jewel Basin in front of us drifting off into the Swan and the Mission ranges. The canyon leading to Glacier National Park off to the east. Twin bald eagles riding a thermal over us.
“It feels like a set up,” I said.
I could not receive this place at first. It felt like it had power over me like one of those guru types posing to know you better than you know yourself. More so, it felt like my enemy. The answer to a prayer I never meant to pray. Like it would break me in half if I slacked off for one second. Grizzly bears. Forest fires. Avalanches. Mountain lions. Angry loggers. Angry environmentalists. People dying for and from what I could only perceive as folly—kayaking, mountain climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, back country skiing, downhill skiing, horseback riding, ice climbing, river rafting…and on and on.
“Let go of the city,” the lovers of this country would say. “Stay. Sit a spell.”
No, I secretly schemed. Letting go would mean a betrayal. Of that girl in the shop window.
Instead, I spent many years letting go of Montana. Taking hits off the city in drug-dose proportions. Looking down from my returning flight into our little valley, seeing the outline of the mountains, the five or six farm lights still on, landing, thinking I can do it this time. I can stay. Three months later, I would be up in the sky again, panting over the grid of lights below and the skyscrapers on the horizon beckoning me back.
mtlion
Until I had my first child. And the subway so suddenly went villain. The honking cars and heaving bus exhaust and hissing sewers…like land mines. I clung to my baby. I ended up in parks. Grant Park. The Presidio. The Boston Garden. Central Park. The Arboretum. Leaving the city windows to another girl’s self-fascination. Then I would hover over our little valley with the landing gear descending, see the half-dozen little lights below, the moonlit ranges, and begin to find thanks.
It occurred to me then, that letting go was not a leaving. But a climbing in. A yes.
I proclaimed that yes. At first quietly. Ashamed. Then louder. Then so I didn’t know the difference between yes, and living.
Fifteen years. Dog sled racers, endurance riders, snowcat operators, medicine women, stunt pilots. Grizzly trackers, loggers, bowhunters. Helicopter nurses, heart surgeons, brewers and preschool teachers. Electric company cherry pickers, and Flathead cherry growers. Pizza parlor proprietors and organic farmers. Cowboys. Rodeo queens. Horse whisperers. Blacksmiths. Piano tuners. Cross dressers. Quilters. DJ’s, hot dog vendors, mule packers. Vietnam Vets. Ski bums. Fly-fishing guides, bartenders, computer programmers, train conductors. Double Phds that live in their car and grift at the pool hall for food money. Wives who live to hunt. Husbands who live to cook their wives’ kill.
I still have not been mauled by a grizzly bear. Still have not even seen a mountain lion. Have only come upon the aftermath of forest fire…and found a bounty of mushrooms there. Montana never broke me in– like a cowboy who thinks it needs to break the mare’s spirit to gain respect. I was never that mare. It was never that cowboy.
Instead, it was there all that time– in purple Alpine glow and sparkling wide rivers, in the sight of my child’s fingers on a trout belly, the safe back of an old horse lakeside in August, dipping its neck down and drinking slow sips of glacial run-off, in soft rains and misting meadows, anthills and golden Larch, in the little white farm lights and moonlit snowy peaks– it was there, all that long sweet time…welcoming me home.northern lights

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Mother Bear at the Plaza

Plaza silver
Mother Bear at the Plaza
by Laura A. Munson

I was reared for walking in and out of places like New York’s Plaza Hotel. But I live in Montana now and sometimes I forget how to be that girl. That girl having her first tea at the Palm Court in low riding white tights and a scratchy wool coat, standing three feet and agape below the Eloise portrait, thinking, “Now that’s the life. Living in a fancy hotel, pouring water down the mail chute, dragging chalk along the corridor walls, no mommy telling you what to do. Eloise is my hero.” And later, in Chinaman pajamas, I do both and feel huge.
Much later, I am waiting in the lobby for my first boyfriend, a meeting place between airport and brownstone, with my dead grandmother’s Hartman luggage all around me, considering losing my virginity while the ladies in minks and high stiff hairdos go by. And I still feel huge.
eloise
But today, in jeans and steel-toed boots, a suede thrift shop jacket, a sloppy scrunchy bun flopping at the nape of my neck, a baby in a front pack like a kangaroo, I am the only one who recognizes my footprints in this red rug. The doorman, the concierge, the maitre d’ at the Palm Court, even Eloise, even the little girl in white tights standing agape—they all step aside as if I might be dangerous. I wink at Eloise and stroll by, holding my neck as tall as it has ever stretched and find the Powder Room, for I am here today not to pay homage to my first hero, nor for tea, nor to meet my old beaux. I am here to breastfeed. I am in the safest place I know in New York City, crummy old boots or no crummy old boots. I look down and see what is very possibly dried manure on the sides of the Vibrum soles and think, It’s good for this rug to know a little of God’s country. And I open the white door with the gold gilt. And I still feel huge.
Inside, there is a woman in a black dress and white apron staring at me with an expression that sighs, Oh dear, you must be lost.
“I need a place to breastfeed my baby,” I say, looking for a place to sit. Realizing there is none. Realizing women don’t breast-feed in public, not even in the bathroom, at the Plaza Hotel. I start to lose confidence. Maybe I am a stranger here now. Maybe the little girl who ran in here, tinkled on toilet-paper-lined seats, dilly-dallied at the vanity, transferred pettifores from napkin to coat pocket chatting with the nice maid lady like in a Frances Hodgson Burnett book, remembering to tip a little something, never was. And I am a rancher’s daughter, and I am scared of places like this, and rich people are strangers to me.
eloise

The woman speaks in broken English, which feels like my language now– something like, “I know good place. Come with me. I have daughter.” In silence, I follow her down the hall, into an elevator, up a few floors, through a grand lobby with twenty foot French doors all in a row, and the girl who knew debut parties and benefit fashion shows knows there is a ballroom through those doors.
The Powder Room attendant looks down the hallway toward a row of small well-lit rooms full of mumbled voices and whispers, “No let them see you. Here. In here.” With case-the-joint eyes, she ushers me through tall gold doors.
We are in some sort of V.I.P. Ladies’ Lounge. The kind of place where Madonna hides from paparazzi and society younglings sneak lines of cocaine. We are surrounded by mirrors and high gold and white ceilings, garish escutcheons holding up huge Baroque-looking chandeliers, red damask fainting couches.
“When you finish with baby, come back same way. Don’t talk to nobody.” She leaves.
I sit.
My knees poof up to my nose and I see myself in the mirrors. I see what they
have all seen: This me does not belong. Whatever possessed me to dress like some sort of cross between Salvation Army and Rodeo Queen? The thrift-shop-look hasn’t been in since the early Eighties. Have I lost all sense of taste? All sense of now? I could have at least put on a pair of Nikes and sweats and posed as a stay-at-home mom going to the gym.
eloise

My baby starts to fuss. She is unimpressed with the spectrum of me’s unless they include my lactating breasts. I take her out of the front pack and unbutton my shirt. In the mirrors, I see through maitre d’ eyes: I have too much of my breast showing. Not enough make-up. Ridiculous hair. And then I notice the bruisy-colored haystack– the Monet above me. And I start to sweat. I’m all alone in a room with a Monet. Our next door neighbor growing up had Monets. I’ve been in a room alone with Monets before. But this me, this Montana me, she’s got to touch that thing. Maybe it’ll make her real in this old world of hers. Gotta touch that thing. What if there’re cameras? What if there’re alarms? I reach up, eyeing my aim from the mirror across the room as if I am watching a movie of me. Baby gasping for more suction. A few more inches. Yep. Oil paint. Thick fat brush strokes. Either that’s a damn good reproduction or the real Mackoy. And why not? This is a room for people who own Monets. Who don’t have to touch a Monet to prove they belong. My finger returns to my baby. I guess I don’t know either me.
I consider the thing that brought me back to New York for this visit: to plug into my old scene. Museums. Art galleries. Take in a few shows. Drink ten-dollar-a-pop martinis and not bat an eyelash. Maybe buy a pair of absolutely fabulous leather pants from a gaunt Madison Ave. saleswoman who will greet me with a low-toned: welcome. To see how my old gaggle of friends are handling this next stage of motherhood. To compare gear notes where we used to compare hair stylists. To see if million dollar apartments with doormen and live-in nannies can make one exempt from stretch marks and saddle bags. To just for one night, sit in a trendy new restaurant with city friends and over foie gras hear the one in the self-important glasses say, That’s some of Venturi’s worst work. It’s exhausting looking at mountains all the time…dishing out that kind of awe all the time. I want a bit of what people have done. I want the Chrysler Building. I want—just for a few days– to not be on the food chain!
eloise
I look at myself in the mirror and see that I am instead in some sort of social purgatory. How do I plug into this scene when I’ve lived so long in a place where there is no scene? How can I care about leather pants for the sake of leather pants and not think: Do they repel water? Do they breathe? Do they come in poly-propalene? Good God! Where is my sense of humor? My sense of power? I am giving the light fixtures in this place more importance than myself. Than perhaps even my baby.
And then it occurs to me. It’s the city—it’s stealing my soul. I am feeding my child, for crying out loud. This is a pure moment where nothing should matter but nutrition– the arc between mother and child– let no man put asunder. I stare at my baby and try to keep from thinking about the dress I’ve packed for dinner tonight. The one that looked so chic on the mannequin in Whitefish, MT, that now strikes me as something a Phys Ed teacher would wear to the end-of the-season sports banquet. Whistle and all. Maybe I’ll dress down. I’ll wear jeans. What about all those movie stars that have homes in Montana? I bet they wear jeans when they’re in New York. I’ll pretend I’m one of them. Like I’m above all this…all this…ephemera.
eloise

And just when I am hit with the whiplash of my total-unenlightenment, the door opens. It’s a tall woman in a pink Chanel suit. Her hair is Ivana Trump high and I think, I’d rather talk to Ivana herself– she’s a foreigner. She might understand.
“What are you doing in here?”
This is my payback for all those years of ‘belonging,’ I think. I deserve this. I try to sit up straight in the poof of the couch but only manage a few inches of height. I thrust my chin in the air so I am at least staring at her kneecaps. I put every amount of Mayflower descent, Anglophile, Junior-Year-Abroad, boarding-school-procured nasal and lock jaw into these words: “I am breastfeeding my child.”
She raises a singular, well-plucked eyebrow. “Well, you will have to leave immediately.”
I imagine the guards. I imagine the I told you so on the doorman’s face. “Look, I was led up here–” and then I stop. I don’t want to get that sweet sample of humanity in trouble.
“Who? Who brought you here?”
Do you always talk in Soap Opera-eze? “I don’t feel at liberty to say.” Did I just say ‘at liberty?’ I tuck my boots under the sofa and eye the Monet. And then it happens. I feel this mother bear claw-sharpened edge raise its hackles down my spine and I look up even higher, to her pink Channel un-lactating breasts and say, “I will leave when my child is finished eating.”
“You will leave now.”
And whether I end up being hauled out of here by the scruff of my hickish laurels, I suddenly cannot hold back: “What do you think? Just because I’ve got a little shit on my shoes, I’m going to run outta here with the goddamn Monet?”
She lets out a giant Huffffffffff, blows through the door, and leaves a blinding trail of hairspray and Joy de Patou in her wake.
eloise
Bring on the guards– I’ll call the mayor. I’ll get on the front page of the ‘New York Times’– ‘Plaza Hotel– No Safe Place for Mother and Child.’ Ivana herself will give me a golden key to the front door. I’ll have an open tab at the Palm Court. I’ll be given a check for a million dollars and I’ll put that bathroom attendant’s children through college. I’ll buy a new pair of shoes. Maybe some leather pants?
The door opens. It’s the woman from the Powder Room. For some reason I can look her straight in the eye and it’s not because she’s no inch shy of five feet. “I thought you get lost.”
“No. We’re just finishing up. There was a lady who came in here and got mad at us and I didn’t tell her you brought us up here, but she might–”
“Lady? Lady with…” she holds one hand a foot over her hair and the other a foot in front of her chest.
“Yeah.”
“Uh-oh. You come with me, please.”
Baby back in kangaroo position, boots ready for any terrain, we go from hallway to hallway, looking around the corner before we go like James Bond babes. We skeeter down servant’s stairways thick with grey paint and the smell of rotting room service. One more door and we are back by the Powder Room and I am Eloise. No…better: I am at the intersection of all me’s. I am my own society.
I want to give this saint of a woman a hug. She has put her job on the line for me and my little girl, but maybe for more. The girl reared for tea at the Palm Court says, you owe her a fat tip. But that is an insult, the Montana me says. There is no financial compensation for human kindness. I give her a hug and she holds me hard and then sneaks back to her post taking quarters for hand towels.
eloise

And I walk tall back past Eloise, little girls in white tights, blue-haired dowagers sipping Earl Grey, suburban virgins in transit considering sex but for now a Marlborough Light, a doorman who doubles as a bouncer, but not to me, not today; I am looking at my sleeping baby, safe in my perfectly acceptable chest.
***
Back in Montana. Full of sushi and museums, sky-scrapers– the great stuff of Men. It is nighttime and my baby and I are driving back from a party. She has been fussy and I’m hoping she will fall asleep. I am watching the stars and keeping an eye out for deer, humming lightly to the country music station which I don’t normally like, but tonight it’s like what subway shoosh must be for a New Yorker– a hymn of Home Sweet Home. I look in the rear view mirror and see she is finally asleep and I feel tucked-in by the mountains around me; not awe necessarily. And then I see flashing red lights.
Immediately I get adrenaline in my chest cavity and a ringing in my ears and pull over, reaching for the glove compartment where I know the stuff cops want is kept. I unroll the window and wait, shaking. His boots on the gravel get louder and louder and by the time he is at my window I am no longer scared; I am mother bear. I am all hackles and sharpened nails and to his bellowing “Do you know how fast you were–” I raise my finger to my lips and hiss, “SHHH! I’ve got a sleeping baby in the back seat!”
“Oh!” His shoulders shirk and slump. “I’m sorry,” he whispers. “I know how that is.”
“Can we make this quick? I want to get her home.”
“Uh– sure, Ma’m. I’m sorry. You were going seventy-five and that’s too fast at night so uh–”
I look back at my baby. She’s stirring and she begins to cry. “Oh that’s okay darlin’. Go back to sleep.” I scowl at the police officer.
He looks in the back seat and whispers, “Tell you what. Let this be a warning. Now go get that baby to bed.” I see his teeth make a smile in the headlight.
“Thank you,” I barely say. I have no need to butter him up. There is a child who is teetering on the edge of sleep and I am her mother. Nothing can get in my way.

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Filed under Little Hymns to Montana, Motherhood, My Posts, Stories