Across the Divide

Rainbow over the Continental Divide, Bannock Pass, Idaho-Montana border

One of the most brilliant rainbows I’ve ever seen, yesterday on the Continental Divide at Bannock Pass on the Idaho-Montana border.

I have a lot of photo work to catch up on from the past couple weeks: meadows in the Frank Church Wilderness, the Lemhi Mountains and the Selway River. But I took the last few days for a non-photographic trip over to Bozeman, Montana, to catch up with old friends. In particular, I wanted to see the family of my high school best friend Eli Tripp, who lived an excellent life for many years with cystic fibrosis, but passed on this May. A better tribute than I can muster is at the Querencia blog. But it was a joy to spend time with his family and his wonderful twin children, and to talk over the possibilities of taking them boating in Idaho next year. And another of my very long-time friends is expecting twins, Lord willing some future playmates for my own upcoming child in the fall.

Going back to Bozeman is always strange; as Steve Earle wrote, “Won’t nothin’ bring you down like your hometown.” Bozeman in particular and Montana in general always raise in me feelings of wonder at the landscape, frustration with the change, regret that I didn’t know the area better, wishes that I had maintained a relationship with the place. But enough years away can reset some relationships; I feel like a thorough New Mexican now, and eastern Idaho is my second querencia. So I’m more able than I once was to see Montana with fresh eyes, and meeting up with people I haven’t seen in sixteen years was pure delight. Driving east to Bozeman once felt like returning; now it feels more like an adventure, rediscovering places and people I took for granted. And crossing the divide back to the Lemhi Valley is homecoming, with a big rainbow saying both “Goodbye,” and “Welcome back.”

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2 thoughts on “Across the Divide

  1. This is a really thought-provoking and evocative post, Jackson. Since leaving northwest NM years ago, I have always wanted to find a way to sum up my feelings every time I return. One of the things you pointed out here is that I now find myself scrambling on my visits home to rediscover all of those places I took for granted growing up.

    Perhaps, in trying to instill a sense of place in my own son, that can be one of the best lessons to instill in him–to not lose touch with your roots.

    Congratulations on your own upcoming fatherhood!

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