Native Son: Montana
4:37am—I open the door into the darkness. Of course, the hinge screams loudly, as if it’s been paid to alert the local wildlife that I’m coming. I give it a dirty look and consider going back in for the WD-40. Later, Loudmouth, later.
The sky is the proverbial black velvet canvas, stretched from horizon to horizon, pieced by an infinite number of tiny holes that let in just a wisp of Heaven’s light. My eyes slowly acclimate to the darkness, and my lips quietly utter that classic quote…”Billions and billions of stars…”
I shuffle down the dusty little gravel road and revel in the pre-dawn chill…probably about 45 this morning…thankful that I brought my puffy coat with me to Big Sky Country. ‘Course, I’m still wearing shorts and bedroom slippers…no sense being too rational about this. My feet crunch the gravel with each step, but other than that, it’s dead silent out here. I stand in the middle of the road, sky-watching, taking special pleasure in the occasional shooting star. My mind wanders, skipping from here to there, and I ponder the idea of ancient peoples doing exactly what I’m doing now. But they probably weren’t holding a giant Buc-ee’s mug full of English Toffee-flavored coffee. Coffee toffee. Toffee coffee. Luc-kee Buc-ee Toffee Coffee…
About this time I hear something large move in the distant trees across the meadow. Probably deer. Lots of them out here. Hmmm…still pretty dark. Deer don’t really roam around in the dark. They’re usually crepuscular. Hmmm. Now what would be roaming around in the darkness? Probably just a bear. Big ol’ male Griz…900 irritable pounds of muscle, claws, and teeth, stumblin’ around in the dark, sniffin’ out a little breakfast. He’s probably got his nose in the air, nostrils a-quiverin’, searching for the scent of some easy prey, like some oblivious moron standing in the road… “Montana Banana Chilly Willy Luc-kee Buc-ee Toffee Coffee…”
(Editor’s Note: Though Mr. Chamblee’s body was never found, the remains of a well-chewed Buc-ee’s coffee mug was recovered along a remote gravel road near Trout Creek, Montana.) Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
Well, I attribute the sound to a falling branch and mosey on down to the Otter Pond. Not much more than a bulge in a small creek, really, but this little place has become my morning roost; my place to watch the sunrise. Not just glance over at the sunrise, as I normally do back in Texas, but to intently observe this phenomenal event. It’s a flippin’ miracle when you think about it. Earth is a mere grain of sand in the ocean of the universe, circling around this tiny flaming orb that provides the energy to heat and feed millions of miniscule ecosystems that somehow work together in symbiosis to act as one self-sustaining and ever-changing entity. And WE get to LIVE here! With Luc-kee Buc-ee Toffee Coffee. How cool is THAT?!?!
The problem with becoming one with the sunrise is that you lose touch with the important things in life…traffic jams, inane arguments, Pokémon Go. Instead, one’s mind tends to gravitate toward the inconsequential aspects of our existence, like family, spiritual awareness, and personal contentment. We forget the true significance of the latest fast food bacon burger, focusing instead on trifling matters, such as altering our entrenched habits to pursue a more meaningful future.
Within ten minutes of its appearance over the distant mountain, the sun has warmed the air enough to coax me out of that coat. Suddenly, I hear a low, rumbling groan. Hmmm, that’s my stomach. Guess I’ll head back to cook up some grub. And oil that squeaky door hinge. Yep…Luc-kee Buc-ee Toffee Coffee. Hmmm….Door Hinge…Doorhinge…Or-ange Door-hinge. 🙂