Boozhoo! Aaniin! Welcome to another edition of An Irritable Métis. This one is a little milder, as I’m just tired of being cranky tonight. One must take full advantage of these states of mind! Plus I have a couple announcements….
… like this one! There are still 3-5 copies of the Whitefish Review with my essay in it available. As I said last issue, new paid subscriptions get a copy mailed out to you for nothin’ until they’re gone, so if you’ve been thinking about it, well….
I remember the first time I saw one of these Wildsam Field Guides. It was years ago, and I think at the time there were only three or four editions of them, if that. I love them. They are pocket-sized. They are like little zines with pertinent info and quirky facts and etc. tucked between the covers. Perfect! So imagine my excitement when I got a call last winter from editor Zach Dundas to see if I had anything to contribute to a Western Montana edition. And I did! And they published it! And it’s coming out next week!
Here is what it is all about:
A field guide to Western Montana: horseback riding, small town saloons, interviews with fishing guides, ranchers, and U.S. Senators; fly-fishing and wilderness adventure.
Inside Wildsam Western Montana you'll find Montana stories and legend from prize-winning writers, past and present: detailed road trip plans and profiles of idyllic towns; interviews with poets and journalists, fishermen and innkeepers; delightful ephemera from the archives, selective recommendations about authentic Western Montana experiences, and a robust guide to fly-fishing tradition and practices.
And now you can get a copy for yourself! If this seems like something you are interested in, you may order a copy from my friends at the best indie bookstore in the world, Fact & Fiction Books in Missoula. If you CLICK HERE to order a copy, I will even sign my essay for you. *GASP!* What an opportunity! I’d sure love if we could blast about 100 or more of these out the door in a week or two. They really are great little books. If you love Montana, it’s probably essential that you have one. Keep in mind there’s nothing in it for me beyond just knowing there’s support and interest in the world for this kind of work. It would be so boring if there wasn’t, wouldn’t it? Plus Zach Dundas is a former Missoula guy and is involved in this excellent podcast. I’m sure he would appreciate if his home town buried every other town when it comes to sales, and you have it in your power to contribute to that!
Summer has settled in for the duration here and we are in the middle of our first stretch of hot days. So far I don’t mind because it is still beautiful; the rivers are still running high, the hillsides are still mostly green, and there are still wildflowers. Bugs are hatching and birds are snatching them out of the sky via crazy aerial maneuvers. Hikes don’t feel like death marches and the swimming is good at Frenchtown Pond, especially weekday evenings when hardly anyone is there. Dragonflies skimming the water, ospreys floating back and forth overhead watching for fish. Today I saw a crow splashing around in a vacant stretch of shoreline. Yesterday I saw an eastern kingbird take a couple dives then sit in the branches of a willow preening. Often as not the drive back and forth from my house means I get to smell fresh cut-and-drying alfalfa in the big fields I pass by. The mornings are gorgeous and the evenings cool off quickly. Right now as I look outside my window, the light on the undersides of big, puffy cumulous clouds is breathtaking, and it all changes every couple minutes. And tonight, a Super Moon. The Super-est of the year! This is what summer is supposed to be in Western Montana, and while I think we all hold our collective breaths for the fires to arrive, right now it is about perfect. There is so much else in the world to complain about, yes … but in this moment, why should I?
I don’t have a lot more to say that anyone needs to hear right now but this: did you hear that Ada Limón, my absolute favorite contemporary poet, has been named to succeed Joy Harjo as U.S. Poet Laureate? IT’S TRUE! I can’t imagine in my lifetime seeing another back to back succession of poets as meaningful me as the Harjo/Limón 1-2 punch. I can hardly believe it.
So to close, I want to share this poem “State Bird” from Ada’s masterful book, Bright Dead Things. It’s wonderful….
Miigwech, as ever, for reading. I hope your summer is off to a good start too, all things considered….
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I've only been here (WF) about 8 yrs but I was just saying to my friend yesterday that this summer has felt so reminiscent of one of those years when I first got here. Breathtakingly beautiful sunsets and perfect temps that have me outside all day. I keep hoping that we would also have an August where instead of rising temps like everyone else, it starts turning to fall. But I'm a dreamer. I'm so excited to purchase the field guide! When I first got here I explored so much of the state but Covid made me a bit of a recluse it seems. I can't wait to get out and start wandering again!
I hadn't heard the news about Ada Limón but my immediate reaction is HELL YES! This makes me so happy (and I cannot think of anyone better to succeed Joy Harjo).