In Montana, we can escape. We can take a 30-minute drive, followed by a 20-minute hike and suddenly the only tweets come from birds.
When I escape to the mountains, my problem distributes. In town, it’s like dropping food dye into a cup; the coloring is so thick I can’t see through the glass. But in the mountains, that same dye drops into an ocean. The further I explore, the more my worries and concern distribute. Until, finally, I am able to see through them.
I don’t always find a solution. Especially this election season. On Nov. 9, I rounded the corner to find a long and steep uphill in front of me, when I expected some cruise-y flats. But, I’ve learned when I need to sit down and eat some trail mix. After the election, I needed to take that break.
However, every hiker, biker, weekend warrior and political activist has learned that sometimes you need to get up and start moving forward again, even if your legs still feel tired. The peak might not be in sight, and you may not have a solution you were looking for. But it won’t come to you while you stay still. I’ve taken my break to refuel and now it’s time for me to stand up and start moving forward again.
On Jan. 30, I’ll start to take those steps forward. If I want to keep writing letters filled with mountain metaphors, I need to be able to access the mountains. Public lands were a savior to my sanity this election year. So now, I need to return the favor and make sure I do my part to save them. And at noon on the 30th, I’ll rally for public lands at Capitol Rotunda in Helena.
I hope you will too.
-- Andrea Creel, Bozeman