New year, new beginnings. Hopefully, a more productive year when it comes to writing. This past year saw the bane of every writer, rejection by the establishment publishing industry. Self-publishing is pushed as an option but ends up being a risky financial proposition. Have found a potentially free podcast site and if I can get the acoustics right will begin to read my own work for the enjoyment of young listeners and families. This will be my last year involved in education in order to focus on writing/recording and other projects. My heart has always been with reading, imagination, and stories that transport readers to faraway places and times. The aim is to pull kids and parents away from other media even if only for a short time and help them glimpse new places and characters. As the podcast comes to fruition I'll create a link from this site. Please consider joining me on the journey.
February in Northwest Montana can be rather chilly. Like most of the center of the country we got our share of the cool down. My personal scale is ; 15-0 is frisky, 0-(-10) is chilly, -10-(-20) is a little on the cold side. For new arrivals to the Flathead Valley this can be a rather rude awakening . Having grown up in this kind of climate in the Midwest (Wisconsin) it's no big deal. "No such thing as bad weather just wrong clothing." After all you can only take off so much in a hot climate before you get arrested. Will try to get in some winter series rodeo in the arena up the road before the season is over. I love living in a state where it's not uncommon to see school kids wearing boots. Unfortunately with all the Covid mess this year we've seen a large influx of newcomers into the Flathead. Those who can work remotely are fleeing the urban areas for the relative safety of Montana. Realtors and builders are seeing an enormous boom. Beginning to feel a bit crowded here. They're taking too much to heart our "last best place" moniker.
Almost gone and yet snow flurries hang on in Northwest Montana. A few days of tease in the low 50's and then back to reality. The peaks in the Whitefish, Flathead, Swan, and Mission ranges still sport their white caps (not to be gone before June). Grizzlies will be making an appearance soon and some have undoubtedly done so. They'll be out looking to make up calorie deficits any way they can. Plowing has begun on the Going to the Sun Road from the East. Crews from the East and West side will meet in the middle at Logan Pass sometime toward the end of June. Pent up demand to see Montana's national parks may seriously boost attendance this year. Sunrise and sunset in the mountains is something to behold. There's a reason they call us "The Last Best Place".
National parks by appointment? Who would have thought it? Strange times in the inland Northwest. Glacier Park planning for reservations to certain areas to reduce congestion and increase "social distancing". Population growth in Northwest Montana continues unabated. Winter struggling to let go in the Flathead Valley. Still, I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather live. Schools have begun the last quarter of the school year and spring fever if not fully blossomed will soon be evident. Have begun reading Grandmother's Fan to a reading intervention. Acoustic panels should be here by the end of May so hopefully I can begin setting up the first podcast episode.
I've been remiss in my musings these last two months. Schools is out and I've officially retired from education. Smoke from multiple fires - Montana and elsewhere fills the valley obscuring the peaks and smelling like a campfire. Rodeo is on behind the Blue Moon on Thursday evenings. Visitors, fulfilling pent up demand for travel, abound to see Glacier Park and other sites. Added to the influx of new residents to Flathead County makes for a "Kalispell drive time". Like everywhere else labor shortages place heavy burdens on local business owners and customers alike, with some restaurants offering only drive through. In spite of it all there's no place I'd rather call home than Montana. Acoustic panels arrived last month. Anxious to finish some home maintenance projects and begin recording.