Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Purple-shadowed coulees ...

One of my first posts here was an appreciation of Joseph Kinsey Howard, the Montana newspaperman and historian. Though it's been nearly 60 years since his death, Howard's works remain relevant and well-read ... especially Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome, his landmark history of the state. It's one of my very favorite Montana books, partly for what Howard says and partly for how he says it ... he had a gift for descriptive prose that seems to fit the state perfectly. Here's a sample paragraph from the book, introdicing the Missouri Breaks country in central Montana:
The trails are old wagon roads which get down to the river somehow -- twisting along an old water course or plunging wildly down an extended buttress of a long butte. Scrub pine, spruce, and cedar are scattered in the purple-shadowed coulees and on the hundreds of isolated hills which start up suddenly from the vast canyon floor; the sun, soon gone, rekindles briefly the centuries-old color in pre-glacial cliffs, and a distant mountain range turns violet, then black, against the blue-green sky.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mark....

    I have spent many, many hours this year, moving and assessing books. (had over 3000 of down to about 2000). Just yesterday, came across Dorothy Johnson's* "The Bloody Bozeman..." Published in 1971; was part of McGraw Hill's "American Trail Series.." A great read! Easily available on ABEbooks or Amazon (used...some copies less than the postage!!!)

    *She taught at MSU (Missoula...)

    I recommend this book for your readers...

    Also...(now this proves my mental state...): I don't remember if I sent the panaoramas I made whnile in Deer Lodge in mid-Sept. I will reduce them to 500-800 k and send them to you via e-mail. They are shots of the valley I grew up in.(or..for you grammarians: the valley in which I was reared) ...(Deer Lodge).

    Keep up the good work!!!

    Pat Lueck