If my father did indeed feel alien in these physical surroundings, it wasn't for long. He used to tell me abut his first morning in Choteau.
He had arisen early and gone outside. The air he inhaled cheered him as no air had before. Five miles southward rose two lonely buttes, which in that atmosphere he estimated to be about a mile away. All up and down the western skyline stood the great blue lift of the Rocky Mountains. Benches climbed from he valley of the Teton River and to the east leveled into flatlands that ran out of sight. Overhead -- you could almost say on all sides, too -- was the sky -- deeper, bluer, bigger than he had ever known.
The breathed the air. He looked. He heard the ring of silence. He felt somehow afloat in space. A shudder shook him, the shudder of delight. He stretched his arms wide and said aloud, "By George, I'm free!"
Sunday, January 24, 2010
A few weeks ago, I mentioned A. B. Guthrie's famous novel, The Big Sky, and told how the book's name reportedly came from a declaration made by Guthrie's father on his first morning in Montana. Here's how Guthrie himself recalled that story, as told in his 1965 autobiography, The Blue Hen's Chick: