It seems like every year about this time I begin lamenting the seemingly endless winters here in Central Montana. I doesn't usually happen until the beginning of February. There is something about February that is different than any other month. I know it's shorter, but it's dark and cold and even though the days have begun to grow longer, they just aren't quite doing it fast enough. The ice in my yard from each subsequent freeze and melt threatens to winter kill even the hardiest of grasses beneath it. The cornices of ice that slide with glacial persistence from my metal roof loom above the heads of my family and friends as they enter my abode.
But for all of winter's woes and her apparent icy death grip on the land around me, I feel a sense of awe. I know that 5 or 6 months from now the temperature could quite possibly be 120 degrees warmer than it is right now. I know that the frozen, trampled deer bed that is my garden will once again bring forth the less than bountiful but none the less gratifying fruits of my labor. And I know that my wife and I and our two sons will move outside and build fires and create new versions of the s'more in our back yard. We will cook in a dutch oven and float the Missouri or the Smith, camp in the Little Belts or Big Timber Canyon and celebrate our lives in the glorious Montana summer. These are the visions in my mind's eye that keep the haints and ghouls of a frozen windswept Central Montana February at bay.