Every day, every month, and every year in
Lewistown, Montana affirms that I'm most
defiantly small minded. While I pride myself
on having carefully honed opinions related
to politics, culture, and aesthetics - that's not
what I am referring to. Rather it's affirmation
of my preference for a quite limited sphere of
influence. While I most embrace the concept
that size truly does matter - I cannot concur
with the idea that bigger is better. Hence I'm
the happiest when here and far away from it
all. Therefore at my age I've become beyond
quite small minded with limited visibility.
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 that we've been able to move to
and from urban Manhattan and rural Montana.
In truth that dichotomy enables us to see both
extremes for what they are... and aren't. Here
within the limited confines of "town" all that
we need lies footsteps. As it also was back in
Manhattan. Wherever we live we try to walk.
On the fourth it was a few blocks to the parade.
And when ambitious, our grocer just about the
same distance as it was in the big apple. Such
intimacy makes it's hard to do anything under
other's radar. But it's comforting to know that
family, friends, and neighbors are here to help.
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?!
It's 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!
Proving the less is more. And then some...