Yes! I am off to Montana for five days….
Nope, not to look for Ennis and Jack, should they have wandered too far north, trysting in the the Absaroka Mountains (a sub-range that straddles the border between Wyoming and Montana). I am taking Rachel for a “campus visit.” Our daughter has always had one main life goal: to enjoy outdoor recreation in a beautiful place, particularly places where she can learn surfing or snowboarding. The campus is in a narrow place in the river valley, in the midst of mountains just north of the Montana/Idaho border, a sub-range called the Gallatins. Yellowstone Park (and Wyoming) is south of there, but mostly to the east.
Rachel has planned to make a career in nursing, a career she sees as one that will afford her the best chances to live in such places, support herself modestly, and allow her to do what she really loves. I think that’s a reasonable goal. We just wish these places were not so far away and so costly. Still, she’s our only child, the child of a somewhat late surrender to love and marriage. She came to us much-desired but unexpectedly, since we were both past our prime reproductive years. I suppose there are worse things we could go broke doing than sending her to the school of her choice. :)
She has applied to and been accepted by three schools. One is the 'fall-back,' the local university (“Yuck!”). Her first choice is in Hawaii and her second choice is in Montana. We are hoping to give Montana its way with her (yes, this visit is to seduce her into making it her first choice). It's no less expensive than the school in Hawaii, but so much closer. It's a long two-day drive, but Hawaii would mean air fares, air fares so expensive we could only a afford to send her back and forth once a year.
Here are a pile of photos (for you who might be interested) of the area of Montana where the school is, along with a couple of annotated maps (I love maps).
I’ve also included a string of old shots of us, especially of Rachel. How quickly time has passed! I think all of you who have reached your middle or later years appreciate that. My mother always used to say, one didn’t notice the passing of the years except when one saw the way the children grew up.
You parents of children, aunts of nieces and nephews, older friends of the children of peers – you all know this. ‘Wasn’t it only last month that Bridget was sitting in a potty chair? Now she is driving a car.’ Treasure the watching of their growth; it is so soon over. I wish I had kept a journal of those early years. At least I saved her drawings and scrawls. But I wasn’t inclined to really write until my Frodo swoon. Too bad I hadn’t fallen in love with him earlier.
Map of Montana, showing Bozeman:
Here are scenic shots of the area. The top photo shows the campus of the college in the foreground, the mountains behind it:
This is the sort of land I love deeply: the high, vast, rolling grasslands between the valleys and the mountains, the sort where the bison used to roam.
These are shots in the mountains south of Livingston, which is a little east of Bozeman. Bozeman itself is on level land, the Gallatin River flowing through the valley. Speaking of which, the film "A River Runs Through It" was filmed in and around Bozeman area.
Below is a shot from the website of the ski place where I am taking Rachel for a snowboarding lesson, called Bridger Bowl. It's in a little sub-group of the Gallatins, called (surprise) the Bridger Range. The ski resort is only 20 minutes from the college campus and a shuttle takes students there for $5.00. The much bigger and more famous ski place, Big Sky, is about an hour away to the south, in the Gallatins.
Here are photos of Rachel with me and Glen over the years:
Rachel at about one and a half years of age:
Here I am the same year, at my graduation from a seminary graduate school:
Rachel was just over two years in this one; I was thirty-nine:
Here are the three of us in eastern Suffolk County, Long Island (NY). Rachel was three and a half. I would have been forty.
This is one of my favourite pictures of us because Rachel is so funny in it. She did NOT want to have her photograph taken. Can you tell? Rachel was eight, I was forty-five, Glen was forty-three.
This is a shot of Rachel I have always loved, she looks so wild and happy. It was taken on Baker Beach in San Francisco. She was ten.
This was taken in the summer of 2003. Rachel was fifteen, I was fifty-two.
This is her “senior picture,” taken in October. She was seventeen years old then. She'll be eighteen in May. I can hardly believe it.