I moved to Montana in 2006 for many reasons.
- Chasing the beauty of the first thunderstorm I saw in its mountains in 2002
- Finding a new path for life
- Exploring a different route of education
- Being able to make it on my own
It’s only now that I discovered the other reason why I went there: solitude. I needed quiet, away from my city apartment, a bad breakup, an unfulfilling job, my obligations at church and even from my family and friends. I needed a break. Missoula seemed like the right town for me-closer to Glacier (which I hadn’t yet explored) than Yellowstone, liberal, a college town that carried a recreation studies program, and hopefully a good job.
But it wasn’t quiet enough.
There were still the distractions that I needed to get away from. The big box stores and its enticement of spending, restaurants that encouraged me to eat out instead of cook healthy for myself, paved paths taking me to a destination. I had those things back in Pennsylvania, I didn’t need them in Montana too.
I wonder now if I would have moved further out of town, into the boonies, if I would have found the peace I was striving for. If I had chosen hiking paths instead of paved ones, if I had saved up my money and paid off my debt, if I had cooked on my own after fishing in its creeks – would I have found the solitude I still crave today?
I find myself busier and busier – constantly planning and adding to my schedule. I think to myself “If I just complete this then I’ll be able to relax”. I thought that when the book was printed, and then laughed-now I have to market and sell it! No rest.
What I crave is solitude which is often why I “run away” as my husband describes it. I need to. At home, I can think of a million things that require my attention. When I pack up the car, the camper, hop on a plane – I’m leaving those obligations behind. I’m forcing myself, for a few days, to not do the obligations I have created in my mind.
Because really, except for my regular job, I have no obligations to anyone. They are all self imposed.
My nature walks are crucial for me to find some balance and solitude when I get too much inside my head. Again, a way to escape that doesn’t take me away for days at a time. I wish I could find peace and balance wherever I am, but I’m not yet of that mindful personality. That will take much more time and practice. 8 years after leaving Montana, and I’m only now realizing what I’ve been seeking all this time.
Solitude. To be quite honest, I’m not sure what that even means, but I know it has something to do with disconnecting my cords and my schedule, reconnecting with my mind, heart and soul, and figuring out a way to release the tension between my shoulders and the race of my heart.