I never felt so gol-durn lonesome as when I worked the night shift at that lodge. ‘Work’ is stretching it actually; I semi-consciously wrote letters, watched movies and the seconds tick by on the clock. The lobby was a hundred years old– pine pillars and a massive paper lantern chandelier and mounted animal heads on every surface.

{Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park, Montana}

Everyone and everything was asleep, the dust on the mounted moose, the people in their rooms. They snored softly (yes, the moose as well) and the sound crept through the paper-thin walls and harmonized with the wind in the leaves.  My achingly tired brain would wade through memories and reacquaint me with old friends, rehash past mistakes and times my tongue had sent me stepping off cliffs.

I’d left Philadelphia to begin again; to trade cleverness for bewilderment, and to relearn whatever I’d thought was true.  To be vulnerable and notorious and ruthlessly suck the marrow from the bones of my experience.
There I was in the spine of the continent, where it was wild and cold and far. I’d gone to strike out on my own. And I felt really alone most always.

IMG_2331{Kayaker on Bowman Lake, Polebridge Montana}

I was taking my time to figure out why I felt this way.  Why I didn’t know what to say to anyone anymore, or crave any company.
When I wasn’t working, I was hiking one of the many trails nearby. When I wasn’t hiking, I was curled up with a book or drawing by the lake or simply doing nothing at all. Simply being. Being by myself, to hum and fart and otherwise do as I pleased.

{St. Mary’s Lake, East Glacier}

There were plenty of kids like me working there.  Seasonal work draws the footloose fuck-ups, us oddballs that drink too much and have theories about the cosmos, who like to keep moving, who don’t grow roots. In Philly I’d been surrounded by friends I didn’t know I was capable of making.  I’d been relentlessly loved and exhausted.  I loved people, and I knew I needed them, and I knew that I had to have some time to simply be in my brain, by myself, and just listen.


{Avalanche Lake, West Glacier}

Still, I was infatuated with the way people could catch me off guard or crop up in my dreams.  I’d obsess over the way a deep voice could resonate in my ribcage, the way someone could crinkle their forehead or ask a thoughtful question.

I had this ineffable feeling like I was ready to just love the shit out of someone.  Perhaps it was seeing the old couples shuffling through the lobby, all stooped with age and pot-bellied.  Watching them so carefully hold each other’s arthritic hands made my heart ache. I wanted someone to grow ancient and spotty with, to knit and share a single humongous sweater and grow old together in it. Or at least to warm up my bed on those freezing cold, wet nights in May. Who doesn’t?
It was just an ineffable, overwhelming feeling.

Image{The View from the top of Mount Siyeh}ImageImage
{Marvels at St. Mary’s Lake, East Glacier}

One Comment Add yours

  1. David Hall says:

    What a beautiful place.

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