Montana is a land of great diversity. Mountainous western Montana is classically breath taking. Eastern Montana has a semi-arid steppe (dry grassy plain) climate. It is rugged, it can be unforgiving. It has strength, and endurance, it perseveres.
Place has an impact on the people who live there. Eastern Montana has been home to Native American tribes and homesteaders. The land is arrid. Water is life. Who were the people who lived and struggled here? Tough, no nonsense, self-reliant, determined people. Even as there was conflict between the tribes and the unwanted immigrants (homesteaders). The land fought its own battle for dominance, it demanded respect.
When the homesteaders came the grass was lush. Journals tell of grass up to a man’s knees. Everything was in bloom. They settled. They proved up the land, a cabin, a corral, sometimes even chickens. Four or five good years. Then the drought came. People couldn’t make a go of it. Many left with just the clothes on their back. Old timers told me of going into the abandoned cabins and dishes were still on the table. People of Montana persisted, they persevered.
Fast forward about a 100 years. In 2011 the rains started, the floods washed out roads. The land bloomed. It was lush, it was seductive. The grass came up to my husband’s knees.
Here is a type of beauty that reflects strength, endurance and persistence. Here is where many of the Indian Wars were fought. Here is where dinosaurs still hide waiting to be uncovered. Here a fire can smolder for decades in an underground coal seam.
Nevertheless the people of Montana persist.