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As you might have noticed, I resist the formulaic Top Ten lists that are all over the internet, as much as I resist the sound bytes that have become our attention span. My blog posts are too long and likely too reflective. But when I started this blog, it was with the express intention of making easy, informal connections with people, without the publishing world as carrier pigeon. My true love is long form writing– the novel/the memoir, and I am hard at work on three books as I write this post. That said, when you fall off your horse and bust a few ribs, life reduces itself to the nitty gritty, and it’s worth noting: It literally goes step by step, and we better be grateful for each one, even though they hurt like hell-fire in our thoracic cavity. Suddenly, I am finding gratitude for two inches to the left at night in just the right painfree position. Dodging a sneeze with deep sniffing. The smell of lavendar oil. And very ungrateful when the toilet paper roll slips out of my hands and rolls…rolls…rolls…to the other end of the bathroom. What was last week “another damn trip into town to do errands” when all I wanted was to be in my bed reading and writing during this hiatus between leading writing retreats, maybe taking a little walk…is now something I long for, just like my golden retriever when he’d see our busy purposeful steps to the truck, sure of some sort of adventure that the front porch couldn’t provide.
While these ribs heal, a few minutes on the front porch is all the adventure this body can take, never mind the potholes and washboards of a country road. And so it brings me back to a Top Ten list I wrote, sort of mocking Top Ten lists, last year that sums up why I love living in my town– this town I can’t wait to re-visit hopefully next week, grateful for the wind in my hair, and a list of errands to do, and even a good old fashioned sneeze.
First, however, perhaps it might be useful to list the top ten possible reasons I fell off my horse and am in this pickle:
To stop working so hard
To feel grateful for tiny things
To stop multi-tasking
To stop letting unfinished projects bother me
To let the piles go
To leave the unpicked up things unpicked up
To make friends with the dust bunnies
To appreciate a firm pillow
To be grateful for a window with a view
To be grateful for people who bring me soup and make me tea
And now…Drum roll….
Ten+ reasons why I live in Whitefish, Montana
September 4, 2015
(*note: You’d think it has to do with skiing and golfing…but it doesn’t.)
Because I can go outside to get something out of my car naked.
Because if the UPS guy drove up while I was getting something out of my car naked, he wouldn’t make a big deal out of it.
Because I can go into town in the same outfit I slept in and no one would even notice and if they did notice they’d say, “Good for you.”
Because we have old fashioned streetlights with hanging flower baskets on them, an ice cream parlor, a toy store, a hardware store, and a brewery (and a whole lot of other cool locally owned stores and restaurants).
Because when you go to the Post Office, people ask you about your kids by name.
Because the health food store owners know more about my digestive tract than I do. And they hold my babies when we load the car. (I love you Rick and Dawn.)
Because we have a Winter Carnival where grown-ups dress up like Vikings and Yetis and Queens and Kings and ride floats and jump into a frozen lake. And lots of people come to watch and think it’s fun.
Because it doesn’t matter how much money you have. And nobody really cares, if they do know.
Because we’re all the same in a snow storm.
Because we’re all the same in a forest fire.
Because we’re all the same when there’s a grizzly bear or a mountain lion on the trail.
Because the Great Northern Railroad comes right through town and I can feel connected to my hometown Chicago, and another favorite old haunt, Seattle.
Because Glacier National Park is on a lot of people’s bucket list and for us, it’s an easy answer to the question, “So what do you want to do today?”
Because we believe in our wandering rights and have 26 miles of non-motorized trail meandering through our greenbelt, with more to come. (The Whitefish Trail)
Because we have lakes and rivers all around us.
Because it serves up things to write about daily.
Because we have a Farmer’s Market that everybody goes to, even if it’s hailing.
Because people care about the Arts here, (not just about skiing and golfing).
Because on school field trips, my kids go snow-shoeing, ice-fishing, and skiing.
Because they broadcast the local high school football game at the grocery store.
Because people read the local paper. That’s all we’ve got, anyway.
Because at Christmas-time, we string the same vintage bells across the street as they used in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Is that ten reasons? I need to drive my kid to school in my pajamas now. Oh, and I need eggs. But maybe I’ll just get those from the neighbor’s chickens.
See more about Whitefish, Montana