Montana series: Land of desolation

 (This was a blog post I wrote years ago while living in Eastern Montana. While adjusting my site, I can’t me across it & couldn’t resist sharing it once again) 



One day, during one of those flat tire excursions, I met a cute bubbly young mom, who asked me how I liked living in the land of desolation. I laughed about her description of this place. I must admit, some days I feel I do feel as if I am living in the land of desolation. So that might be a slight exaggeration, but some days that is how I feel. Most days the only person I see is my hubby & three boys. I can go to town & see or talk to no one, but the cashier or the librarian. I can go to the market, the library, the post office & no one else is in these places. Gone are the days of seeing three or four people from your ward at the grocery store & catching up for five minutes. Or having large groups at the library, even story time here it usually is just me, my boys & the kids from day care who are dropped off & pickup once it is over by the lady at the day care. So my conversations in my day usually only involve me & one of my four guys, unless I talk to myself or the sheep & sad to say both accounts happen regularly now. Some days I am lucky & I can carry on a conversation on my cell phone without it dropping the call three or four times, other days it is doesn’t even get reception or it drops the call too many times & both parties are frustrated & opt to talk a different day. So yes, some days I feel as if I live in the land of desolation.
Then I drive by places like this:


Literally sixty miles from anywhere, all the middle of nowhere. No neighbors for 20 miles at least, and I think of the poor pioneer woman who lived there. She is trying to raise her kids & survive in this forsaken wilderness. Their only food is what they can grow, raise or kill. There are no neighbors, no one to call when they need help, and who knows how many weeks it was between seeing people. I can imagine her kissing her husband goodbye as he heads out on the horse to go round up the cattle & drive them to the closest market. He could be gone for months, most likely longer. I can see as she struggles to teach her kids the basics reading, math, religion all while trying to take care of the animals, the garden & the basics of daily living. I can see her cooking over open fire, praying that her husband is alive & comes home soon. Praying that the Indians don’t come by again, & if they do please let them be friendly. Praying the animals stay healthy, the garden will grow; that they can produce enough just to live.
Then I wonder how in the world did she do it? How did she have that much strength? How could she go a month without hardly seeing anyone but her family & handle it so well? Was she happy? How did she function? What did she do to stay strong? Where did she come from? What was her story? I look at the house now, beaten down by the storms & weather of the land until there is almost nothing left. Now is lays in a field, not much remaining: forgotten. I get curious about the story of the woman who lived there in the land of desolation, when there was no phones, no Internet, no cars to make the sixty mile drive in an hour & not a week. Then without knowing any of her story, I admire her that much more. I am living in what is still called a Pioneer town (because it too small to be called rural), living with all those extra immensities that make life so nice, like running water, electricity, phones, Internet, cars; but some days I still feel as if I am left in the middle of nowhere. Some days I can’t handle it, some days it is alright, others days I enjoy it. Then once again I think of that woman, who lived in that house left to be forgotten. I haven’t forgotten you, I think if you every time I pass an abandoned house, in nowhere. I admire you so much, for your strength, for your ability to survive, for the life you lived. Still I have one question: How in the world did you do it?

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