Spending a week back home in Lewistown,
Montana has affirmed one thing. Which is
that I'm most defiantly small minded. While
I pride myself on carefully honed opinions
related to politics, culture, and aesthetics -
thats not what I am referring to. Rather it's
confirmation of my preference for the joys
of a rather limited sphere of influence. While
I most passionately embrace the concept that
size truly does matter - I cannot concur with
the idea that bigger is better. Hence I'm the
happiest when far away from it all. Thus at
my age I've become beyond small minded.
Lewistown is situated in the exact epi-center
of the state of Montana. It's population hovers
just under six thousand thus it's not a hot spot.
In fact it sits amidst a sea of prairie surrounded
by multiple mountain peaks known as "island
ranges." Our largest neighbors are Billings or
Great Falls - each about a two hour drive away.
That means that if one wanted (which I don't)
to shop at Walmart you must travel a minimum
of one hundred miles to save on toilet paper.
That means that while we have a McDonalds
and KFC, we're far from modern "civilization."
THANK GOD we're off the beaten track!
Many marvel at my ability to move back/forth
between urban Manhattan and rural Montana.
In truth it's that dichotomy that enables me to
appreciate both for what they are... and aren't.
Within the limited confines of Lewistown just
about everything is within footsteps. As it is
in Manhattan. Wherever we are we walk. On
the fourth it was a few blocks to the parade.
Later that night we walked to a vantage point
to view the fireworks. In such an intimate place
it's hard to do anything under the radar. And yet
it's nice to know that your friends and neighbors
are there if you need them. UPON REQUEST!
Being a known entity validates most of us.
Wherever one resides, it's affirming to be
part of a larger whole. Living in Manhattan
I try to connect with those who live or work
in my neighborhood. Ultimately just a bit
of kindness plus a generous tip insures one
gets a seat at the table. However the same
also applies in Lewistown. Knowing who's
who enables one to navigate what at times
can be the rather circuitous culture within
a small town. While a stranger in paradise
may get a nod or wave from a passerby, the
locals invariably must earn their due respect.
That's why I tend to stay close to home. For
many reasons, wherever I live my world at
large is limited to about a one mile radius.
Don't worry - I often push said boundaries.
However most of the time all that I want is
literally just around the corner. Or within
walking distance. Maintaining said comfort
zone is exactly the way I like it. And while
some have said familiarity breeds contempt -
I find that such a limited scope enhances my
appreciation of all that is close at hand. In
truth I rarely need more than what's within
reach. So why look elsewhere?!
As I suggested in yesterday's missive, it's
always good to get away. Mostly because
in the process of broadening one's horizons
we inevitably end up grateful for what we
have. Myopia may be the greatest barrier
to happiness. The inability to appreciate
life's simplest pleasures limits our ability
to see our world for what it truly is. Hence
my continued commitment to being small
minded when it comes to living life to it's
fullest. I've no doubt that the grass may be
greener elsewhere. However if we leverage
what's within view - it will mow us over!