Photo Credit: Karen

Over the past week we have gotten absolutely dumped on here in Missoula, Montana. I’m talking like foot upon foot of snow. People are going nuts about the skiing, others are whining about getting their cars stuck, I’m trying to love it for what it is. It makes it hard for me to run outside but I moved to Montana; the weather comes with it.

I seem to be moving to more and more extreme weather locales. I grew up in Eugene, Oregon which is just super rainy and mild, I then spent a good chunk of time in Bend, Oregon, which is right at the base of the Cascade Mountain Range. Bend is at 3,300 feet and the winters get pretty cold and snowy but nothing crazy. Then, about a year and a half ago, I moved to Missoula to go to school. Missoula is definitely a step up on the inclement weather scale. How do I know this? My Prius has died twice this winter. Two times I have gone out in the frigid temps to find my battery completely dead. That had never happened in Oregon. This kind of cold kills things! I think we got down to about 25 below on the coldest day here this winter. That’s really really cold; miserably cold.

But, the funny thing is that I have developed this weird fascination with “polar regions.” I think all the news and blogs I read about the arctic cap melting and climate change’s effect on polar bears and whatnot has spurred on my interest. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live up there, when I’m down here in Missoula whining about how rubbery my face gets when I walk to school. Even Montanans scoff if you say Missoula is cold. “Missoula isn’t cold. Go up north, to the Highline…THAT’s cold.”

My professor was talking about Montana ranchers and how we, as students, got it good because we are sitting in a warm room, the most cold we have to put up with is the walk from the car to the door. Not ranchers, they are out in all kinds of weather, laying feed and checking on cows. Apparently a town called Thompson Falls got down to 56 degrees below zero. You have to be a pretty tough dude (or gal) to ranch in Montana.

You may be wondering where I’m going with this post. What I want to say is that this earth is incredible. Cold weather, cold temperatures, cold climates are no joke. I think it’s so easy to go about our lives and just avoid the feeling of being cold and curse it constantly. But why not appreciate its majesty? It’s natural. It’s the way the earth was created. And what’s responsible for this insane business going on outside? The tilt of the earth. The tile of the earth! Isn’t that amazing? As we circle the sun we are at the point when we are not being directly hit with the intense warmth of the sun…it really is mind-blowing when you actually take the time to think about it.

I want people to appreciate the earth because there is nothing more exciting or beautiful. TV is ridiculous (I can’t say the same about the internet, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this)…. but just go outside….no matter the state….and appreciate what’s going on out there. Drink deeply and take it all in. If you disconnect long enough from the comforts of life, your eyes will be opened to rawness of the natural world. I’m on a journey to learn how to appreciate it more and more and I hope this journey never ends.

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