Life Blog: Four Seasons in One

January 25, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

What led me to living in Montana was a series of events, a series of events that to this day still remain unexplained. But here I am, as January 2022 frigidly melts away blogging about my life, residing somewhere in between the jagged peaks and winding rivers of Americas West. Where the early morning news reports aren’t about traffic updates and Ariana Grande’s latest beau, but of grizzly bear attacks, and forest fires. I heard a joke when I first got out here that Montana was nine months of winter and three months of summer, and having been out here for nearly a year, I can confirm that the phrase isn’t a joke, but a reality.  

“Springtime: When life begins to bloom again”

Greenough Montana, located 30 miles east of Missoula was my first abode as I indulged in the sights and sounds of my first time visiting the Treasure State. My senses were on high alert as I made my way into the wild for the first time, nervous that I’d come across Montana's state animal, the grizzly bear. When you think of Montana, you think of bears! When you hear of Montana, you hear of bears! When you see Montana, you feel their presence! Spring time was a season to settle in, a season to begin anew, a season to which I awoke to a 20 degree morning on Memorial Day weekend thinking to myself “what the fuck am I doing here”, a season in which I got a small taste of what was to come. On a late Spring day I took to the trails and hiked to Morell Falls at the base of the Swan Mountain Range. I wrote a short prose style poetry piece about this hike near Missoula, MT which can be accessed by clicking on the titled link here: Searching for Tinkerbell

Montana Waterfalls | Waterfall Artwork | Waterfall ArtMontana Waterfalls | Waterfall Artwork | Waterfall Arthe took to the forest on a late spring day, with thoughts on his mind of a love gone awry. the trees swallowed him up the deeper he went, turning from a dark emerald green to a charcoal black. a once vibrant living being, scarred by the flames of a demon. birds sang a melody only they could decipher, and insects flew wildly about, unencumbered by the objects that surrounded them. in the distance he heard a river flowing, so he followed the sound. eventually a bridge would appear crossing over crystal clear water, while rocks that came out of crayola box lined its bed. around a bend, the noise of what he thought was the river grew louder. he knew what awaited him at the end of the trail, but not to what extent. as the young boy emerged from the trees he looked up to see water cascading down upon a pool of jagged/polished stones. the sun creeped through causing rays to shine upon him, as be basked in his own fairytale story. an epic journey surely to be continued for the lost boy searching for his tinker bell * Montana Waterfalls | Waterfall Artwork | Waterfall Art

“Summertime: Smoke filled days, crisp air nights”

Life circumstances would lead me south to the mountain community of Big Sky, Montana for the summer. As July began to take hold, the skies turned from an ocean blue, to a hazy grey. Sunsets turned from pinks and oranges to a blood red hue. With an elevation of 7,510 feet the air stayed mainly cool, but being so close to the sun you could feel its rays penetrating through your skin. I hiked and I hiked as the miles added up and the inclines became steeper. With a work schedule of four days on and three days off, I was left with plenty of days to play. Wednesday evenings I found myself at the Big Sky farmers market, one of the things to do in Big Sky, Montana during the summer, where I would load up on local goods while perusing the creative works of inspiring artists. I'd come to meet Matilda of an_artistic_adventure, whose work really resonated with me. I had about 20 years on her age wise, but it was really refreshing to see someone of such a young age already walking along her healing path. Weekends were spent camping in the woods amongst the forests, mountains and streams. With cows as my neighbor and ammunition being fired off at close-range, I thought of a famous quote from the Wizard of Oz: “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” My night camping near Bozeman, MT at the fairy lake campground would confirm that quote even more, as I spent an evening alongside the Mountain Goats of the Bridger Mountain Range. To read more about that encounter click the link here: Mountain Goat Rendezvous.

Big Sky Photography | Montana Photography Prints | Fine Art Landscape PhotographyBig Sky Photography | Montana Photography Prints | Fine Art Landscape Photographymy home, nestled in between jagged peaks and winding rivers. far away from the madness of what the east coast can present, i found myself safe and secure ...

“Autumn whispered: “One last kiss before we go to sleep”

Technically it was still summer, but the leaves began to change in Montana mid September. A golden tinge overtook many of the trees, a signal that winter was looming large. Having lived the first forty years of my life on the east coast, I was used to certain conditions during certain seasons. You knew when it was February, you knew when it was April, you knew when it was July, and you knew when it was October. In Montana though, the four seasons blurred into one.  Smokey skies began to dissipate and a deep blue would soon return. Along with frosty mornings and this thing called snow, I began to wonder, does Montana even experience an Autumn? I would return to New Jersey for the month of October, so maybe I missed Montana in the fall, but from the short amount a time I was away I would say, I didn't miss much.

Nature Best Photography | Nature Photography Prints | Photography Prints for SaleNature Best Photography | Nature Photography Prints | Photography Prints for Saleduring the summer, the parking lot for this trail can be completely full. during the late fall/winter it can be completely empty. i walk a very fine line of wanting to be around people and then just as quickly wanting to spend time alone. there's something much different about heading out into the woods alone. a spiritual experience in many regards. here's the thing though, i have no issues being out there alone amongst wild animals and the elements, but there is one thing i do fear, the thought of experiencing life alone. it's a thought that passes through my mind, especially as i age, but it's a thought that won't make me settle. so i wait! and i continue to wait, while soaking up moments like this. moments when the sun says "hello", moments when the mountains say "be still", and moments when the lake says "you're safe" ... * Nature Best Photography | Nature Photography Prints | Photography Prints for Sale

“Winter:  “A time for rest, a time for reflection, a time to retreat”

Back in April, I said to myself there was no way I was going to spend a winter in Montana, but I found myself in a pretty good situation, and for the time being nothing was pulling me away. Being energetically attuned to warmer weather, my body adjusted nicely to the colder temperatures. So much so, that the thermometer reading ten degrees really didn’t have an affect on me, but when new years eve approached and the temperature approached -10, it finally sank in that this would be a different kind of cold. I traded in shorts for snow pants and a t-shirt for three layers and mentally prepared myself for a winter that was to come. Short days would lead to deep sleeps, and I’m not talking some depressive grey northeasterly sleep. I’m talking 8-10 hours of a nourishing/refreshing sleep. Maybe our ancestors were on to something when they lived by their circadian rhythm. Then it began to snow, and it snowed, and then it snowed some more. For the locals though, it’s not even that much snow. 

Montana in the Winter | River Photography | Log Cabin DecorMontana in the Winter | River Photography | Log Cabin Decorwhat's it like living in the mountains? this picture only tells a snippet of the tale ...

Montana in the Winter | River Photography | Log Cabin Decor

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As I look back over the past year I learned a lot. I learned to just keep living and adjust as needed. I learned that living in a pickup truck and then having to buy a new pickup truck when you didn’t want to sucks. I learned again that I need to stop chasing things, that don’t wish to be caught. I learned that only I continue to get in my own way. I learned that excuses are just that, excuses. I learned that I’m ready to give something/someone (other than myself) my time, my energy and my commitment. The most important thing I’ve learned though while living in Montana is, always expect the bleeping unexpected.

For more inspirational tales, thoughts and photography visit me on instagram: @ryan.j.drewes

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