When the river is too high for fishing—follow the back roads and see how long it takes before you feel lost. And after that, how long it takes to be found.
Leave the banks of the Stillwater; marvel how just last month you were able to reach the other side of the channel and now the channel is gone. Snow melt being the difference between last month’s fishing and this month’s back road driving.
And a coyote that actually might be a wolf is the difference between the way deer normally run through the fields and the way you see them running now. In fact, you stop in the middle of the gravel road to clock how fast they race over the southern hills. This time, no white tails teasing goodbye, but rather a stretched out, flat-line lope. Or gallop. Whichever speed is the fastest, that ‘s what it is.
You think for a moment. Turn your head and watch for movement. There: Coyote—one, no two—in the sagebrush on the north side of the road. Later, you’ll google coyote versus wolf and realize holyredridinghood! what you interrupted was wolves versus deer.
Poetry is seeing life without a plot.
It’s seeing the Beartooth Mountains behind the silos in the high fields and realizing the snowline is almost gone. Three weeks ago you camped up there in eleven inches of snow and now that same snow’s melt is what has your river out of shape. And it’s realizing you only see the wolf when you don’t want to. A bank of basking snakes along the one river you can find to fish.
It’s living with whatever comes.
As in the case of the Long Beach tacos now possible in Montana. Could it be true? A small hut somewhere in the mountains that makes tacos al pastor the way they are meant to be?! Pork slow-cooked on a vertical skew, pineapple juices dripping. Sans lettuce, sans cheese. Plus cilantro, lime and onion.
But did you want to follow the roads away from rivers that cannot be fished to find the taco hut?
No. At first you are not interested. It wouldn’t be the same to go there on purpose. But if it turned out a person ended up there, then yeah, of course. Tacos al pastor from a Montana hut would be something good to experience. Just don’t force it to happen.