Discover more from An Irritable Métis
Yet Another Kind of Photo Essay
Council Grove State Park
Boozhoo, indinawemaaganidog! Aaniin! That is to say hello, all of my relatives! Welcome to the
FOURTH EVER PAID SUBSCRIBER ONLY EDITION! of An Irritable Métis. Maybe you aren’t a paid subscriber and you’re wondering why you’re seeing this? It’s because the way it’s set up you’ll get to see it … up to a point. To see the rest, you have to become a paid subscriber. Frankly, I’m not sure how I feel about this but it’s worth a try. And if you’re someone who really digs this newsletter but just can’t add more expense to your existence, I get it. Just message me and let me know, no questions asked, and I’ll hook you up. I want a community here, not customers.
There is a relationship between this edition and the last photo essay featuring the Flathead Indian Reservation that I did for paid subscribers. Council Grove is the site where, in July of 1855, the Hellgate Treaty of 1855 was “negotiated” and signed, which essentially created that reservation. It was one of the most dastardly interactions between the U.S. government and Indian people on this continent, the ramifications of which reverberate where I live every minute of every day. Western artist Edgar G. Paxson recreated the scene in this painting fifty years after events went down.
I don’t know how accurate the painting is, and historians argue as to where the actual meeting occurred as it relates to today’s site, but the landscape today looks very much like Paxson’s rendering of it. Particularly the towering and magnificent ponderosa pines, many of which still standing were there when the event took place. That is something I love about it, what those trees have witnessed, the stories they could tell. Indians have been coming here a long time and the land whispers of their comings and goings.
It is a state park now and is just up the road from where I live. It takes me less than ten minutes to get there driving, and if I could cut overland from my back door it wouldn’t take me all that much longer to get there afoot. It is one of my favorite places on earth. It features the Clark Fork River and an abundance of plant and wildlife, with variable weather and subsequent changing views resulting from those swirling conditions. I visit regularly, in every season, and I love it every time. Especially in questionable weather when I am more likely to have it all to myself. It is where I go to refresh myself, physically and emotionally, especially when my need is greater than the time I have.
For this photo essay I thought I would share some of the views I’ve had there, from all seasons. There are many great images missing too, because I quickly overwhelmed myself with choices. But hopefully you will get a feel for what makes the place so special to me. I’ve also incorporated a few lines here and there from my first book, One-Sentence Journal, as in many ways it wouldn’t exist if not for Council Grove.
Sunshine gets | all the fanfare | but I live for | foggy mornings | on the river | mist rising in clouds | from its surface | herons overhead | heard, unseen
Darla the Adventure Dog
I can’t talk about Council Grove without featuring my little buddy, Darla. She and I spent many, many hours together in this place, and I miss her terribly.
The essential nature | of prowling around | in woods and thickets | near flowing water | with an eager companion | and the overall benefit | it brings to the soul.
The vet called | and told me | the ashes are in | it’s time to bring | Darla home
River channel iced over tells an exciting story | with crisscrossing tracks of unnamed critters | while two great blue herons on the bank opposite | several hundred yards apart from each other | stand frozen, like mirror images | staring into the shivering water
This old snag is just off shore from the riverbank and I find it captivating. I have close-ups somewhere of tiny green plants growing from it during spring and summer. Every year, when the waters rise during runoff – sometimes magnificently! – I fear it will be swept away. So far it hasn’t been….
There are so many of them and I love them all.
My feet itch | to catch up to | my wandering mind
A quick dash to the river | to entice some picky trout | yielded nothing | but a good story