Sunday, August 23, 2009

My place in the universe ...

One volume that few Montana promoters are unlikely to quote when writing about the state is called Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by the noted scientist and geographer Jared Diamond. The book is about -- well, societal collapse -- and the author uses contemporary Montana as his very first case study.

It's not really all bad, though, because the book shows a clear appreciation of the beauty and natural appeal of our state. The Montana section begins with an extended quote by a part-time Bitterroot Valley resident named Stan Falkow, who describes his first visit to the area:
I flew into Missoula airport, picked up a rental car, and began to drive south to the town of Hamilton. . . . A dozen miles south of Missoula is a long straight stretch of road where the valley floor is flat and covered with farmland, and where the snowcapped Bitterroot Mountains on the west and the Sapphire Mountains on the east rise abruptly from the valley. I was overwhelmed by the beauty and scale of it; I had never seen anything like it before. It filled me with a sense of peace, and an extraordinary perspective on my place in the universe.

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