Sometimes what is right in front of you is hidden from view… until you look in a different sort of way.
Sitting on the same rock with the same river below, the same red cliffs before me, the same trees, the wind as before. But not really the same – the water in the river has now reached the ocean. New leaves have come and gone. The wind, where does it go? Still windy, but not the same wind at all. Even the red cliff, solid and unchanging as it seems, has weathered away a bit under the forces of nature. How am I like the river, the trees, the wind, and the rock. Life moves on – no moment is repeated, new experiences come and go, some things about me that are unseen are the most powerful, and even that which seems most solid and stable is ever-changing with the forces of nature.
Wednesday September 19 to Sunday September 23:
Clifford and I are camped at Bass Creek in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana. We sure do like this campground with its mix of wooded creekside campsites and open ponderosa forest campsites.
My brother Rollie is camped here, also, but leaves on Thursday. I make breakfast for the three of us and then we say our good-byes for now. It’s been fun playing music with him, sharing meals and playing cribbage almost every evening. We will see him again this winter in Arizona.
I’m having issues with my brand new cell phone. People can call me, but I can’t call out. I spend a long time on Clifford’s cell talking to Verizon trying to figure things out. Eventually it is somewhat resolved. I also send a few texts to family and friends from the new cell. I take a few photos, but have other things going on, so don’t really have the time to devote to it right now.
On Saturday we make a trip to Missoula for errands before driving out Petty Creek to see my daughter Ang, grandson Oden, and Ang’s friend, Rama. It is good to see them and have dinner together. We don’t stay long after dinner, as they were up late last night and we would like to get back to Bass Creek before dark.
Sunday morning I make coffee and a campfire, planning to sit out to write in the journal – and then it starts to rain. I hang a tarp over the clothes line for a shelter and sit out for awhile with the fresh air and the rain.
In the afternoon, long-time friends, Ken and Shelley Anne, come out to the campground to have lunch with us. After we eat, Ken, Shelley Anne, and I hike up the Bass Creek trail to a spot where the lively creek is calm. This year it is also very low and we are able to step down to a spot where we can see a waterfall that is normally out of view. It is so wonderful to spend time in this setting with these dear people.
During these days, I have also been editing for Ang and have prepared the first draft of a query that will be sent to literary agents for her epic fantasy novel Princes and Priests.
Our days are jam-packed with interesting and fun things to do. I am looking forward to a few more days here before we begin the southward journey to southern Utah.
The week of September 12 through September 18: We move from our great spot at Seeley Lake, returning to Bass Creek in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana.
We make a couple of trips to Missoula for errands and shopping, including picking up the new cell phone that I ordered. I am hoping that photos taken with the Moto Z2Play will make it easier to share photos via the net and cell service, since that is the primary way of sharing nowadays. I will be comparing photos taken with the cell and photos take with the little Canon. I see that many really outstanding photos are now being taken with cell phones, even by professional photographers. I have been reluctant to make a cell phone my primary means of taking photos, but it is certainly easier to carry a cell phone on a hike, which was a determining factor in putting my money toward a new cell phone (which I needed anyway) rather than a new camera.
Another highlight of the week is a “sleepover” with my daughter Ang, with steaks cooked over a big bonfire, and then spending the night in Terry, our old camper that we gave to Ang when we got Cougar in August. Morning coffee, time spent in the greenhouse, and working on editing issues fill the next day before I return to our campground at Bass Creek.
This particular week culminates in another sibling/spouses gathering, this time at brother Rollie’s campsite, also at Bass Creek, with everyone bringing food for a potluck and a big campfire. Rollie and I play a few bluegrass tunes, but mostly it is fun to be part of the conversation and laughter as we listen to tales and almost tall-tales of our growing up years. I sure do love this group of humans and am so glad we had time together again before we go our separate ways. Rollie will be leaving Montana in a couple of days; Clifford and I will be leaving before the end of the month.
Monday September 10: I walk to the lake in the early morning, appreciating the peacefulness with the first light of day on the water. There are a couple of benches that provide places to sit or one can stroll along the beach or take the path through the woods along the lakeside. Over the course of our time here, I have done all of these. Back at camp, I make a campfire so I can continue to be outdoors.
Today Clifford and I go for a drive to other campgrounds along the stretch of lakes in the Seeley-Swan Valley. The campground at Lake Alva has numerous empty spots, but no view of the lake that we can find. Lake Inez has some camping spots along a road above the lake, but it is not a campground and spots would soon fill, so we wouldn’t try to come here with the camper.
Back at Seeley Lake, which we still like the best, at the suggestion of a friend, I do an energy clearing ceremony, wading out in to the lake and letting bits of bark and cones float away, representing a releasing of tension and negative energy.
In the later afternoon, I finish reading the novel I had started before going to Wallace. After dinner is the usual bedtime routine and it is always surprising to me how long it takes to take care of all the loose ends before getting into bed.
Tuesday September 11: I got up kind of late this morning, but walk down to the lake before breakfast anyway. I make my way toward the bridge and get several shots of the lily pads that line the bank there.
Back at the campsite, I visit our neighbor, Ana, an artist who is outside painting. She is an interesting woman and we have enjoyed our visits.
Today I take out the ¾ cello that I brought back with me from Wallace where it had been stored. At one time, I had hoped to play cello regularly as we camped, but cellos are too big to play indoors in an RV and often the weather is not suitable for playing outdoors. This one, even though not full-size, still takes up a lot of room. Being a rather inexpensive instrument, one I was willing to take camping, also means that it does not have great sound. I haven’t enjoyed playing it as much as I hoped I would, which is why it ended up being stored in Wallace. But now it is with me and we’ll see what happens next. I sort the rest of the stuff in my car, stuff that we brought back from the basement of my daughter’s house where we lived for about four years. Some of it is packed to go to a second-hand store in Stevensville, some will go back to Monticello with us, and sadly, some things just go in the dumpster.
We pick up outside stuff – chairs, tables, and such, as we will be leaving tomorrow. It has been great being here, but I am also looking forward to going back to Bass Creek so as to see more of my family before we begin the journey south.
September 7 through 9 is a jam-packed three days of family gathering at the historic Jamison Hotel in historic Wallace, Idaho. Although the kitchen is too old-fashioned to be easy to use, the space in general is spacious and gracious, the bar quite spectacular, the bedrooms quaintly charming, and the basement reputed to be haunted.
I tend to like things harmonious and organized, so the hubbub is a bit unsettling for me, but it certainly is interesting and lively.
The Wallace Gathering was quite amazing and I know I will miss seeing who is up and having coffee at the Wallace Coffee House when I get there, who wants to go to breakfast somewhere, who wants to run to the store or go shop browsing, and who is just hanging out sharing stories. Awesome group!
On my way back to Seeley Lake, I stop to take photos of a beautiful sunset and reach camp after dark, happy to be back in my own space with Clifford and Cougar
Wednesday September 4: The night was chilly and autumn colors are becoming more pronounced. After a morning walk along the lake, it is warm enough to sit in the sunshine to write in the journal and send pics to my family.
My daughter Katie calls to see if I will come to the sibling and friends gathering in Wallace, Idaho. I had thought I would not go, but it is worked out for me to meet up with my daughter Ang and her friend Rama to ride partway with them. It will be good to see kids and grandkids that I might not otherwise get to see on our travels.
In the afternoon, I continue with editing Ang’s book Princes and Priests. Later, Clifford and I go to the laundromat in the town of Seeley Lake. After the baskets of clean clothes are loaded in the Suburban, we cross the highway to the gift shop for a really good ice cream cone. Back at camp, after dinner and cleanup, we both read/study until bedtime.
Wednesday September 5: Clifford is up earlier today, so I sit out in the morning sunshine to chat with him and then we tend to some CI email. For both of us, it is a day of our usual activities: Clifford works on the CI Legacy Project, plays his dulcimer, and listens to his ham radio; I edit, write blogs, play viola, and read. Dinner is simple and we are happy being here.
Thursday September 6: This morning I make a campfire instead of going down to the lake. Nice to sit here with my coffee and journal.
After breakfast I pack a bag to take to Wallace. As I’m getting my car tidied up, I meet the neighbor across the road, an artist currently living in a tent as she does large colorful lively paintings out in the open. She is quite an interesting and friendly woman, with a great idea for a foundation to help other artists.
I do my walkabout this afternoon as a storm is moving in with a bit of a rainbow. By time I get to a spot clear enough to get a shot of it, the rainbow has faded, but it was still exciting to see.
Breakfast burritos for dinner and then I tidy up our cozy space before heading to bed.
Saturday September 1: Clifford didn’t feel well in the night, but fortunately he is okay this morning. I go down to the lake first thing this morning for photos. I love the ambiance of the mist rising off the lake.
Chat with Rollie before he heads out to attend a bluegrass festival.
I drive into the town of Seeley Lake to look for local honey, browsing through gift shops, and end up buying local raw honey at the market. Stop for photos of water lilies on the way back to camp.
In the evening I do some editing of Princes and Priests for my daughter Ang and then edit photos from my outings today.
Sunday September 2: It is a beautiful morning here with the mist on the lake again. After the mist lifts, I sit outside in the sunshine with my cup of coffee while I write in the journal.
Today is a day of calls: some business calls and some family/friends calls. I play my viola and do more editing today, as well as start reading another novel. Nice to have time to read, along with all the other things that I like to do.
Monday September 3: I make coffee and then go sit by the lake to muse on things while I sip at my coffee.
Back at camp after breakfast, I send photos of the lake to all the family. The afternoon is more editing and reading and playing fiddle tunes on the viola. Life is good!
Friday August 31: My brother Rollie and I are up early and make coffee in his motor home here in Sun River, Montana, before we start packing up for the return trip over the mountain and back to the campground at Seeley Lake. My son Matt joins us for breakfast and we say our good-byes. It was a good visit and I’m glad we had time for fishing ventures yesterday, as well as sharing meals and chatting.
It is a windy drive back to Seeley Lake, not only across the prairie foothills on the east face of the Rockies, which is usually windy, but even into the mountains. It makes the journey back harder for the Rollie and the motor home.
We arrive safely at the Seeley Lake Campground in time for me to make lunch for the three of us (Clifford had stayed to hold down the fort – Cougar).
We make a campfire, and Rollie and I play some bluegrass tunes. Dinner is a left-over baked trout, as good as the one we shared with family at dinner last night in Sun River. It was a good trip, but I am glad to be back to our campsite with Clifford and Cougar.