Curled into my down comforter, the box fan in my window is blasting crisp fall air into the room. The contrast of welcoming warmth and biting breeze could not be more perceptible.
Autumn is here in Montana, and we seasonal workers are stirring to move on to our new winter homes. Sentimentalism mixes with the readiness to leave and suspends in the brisk alpine air.
I’ve been saying goodbyes for a couple of weeks now, and today has been no different. My mind disobediently highlights what I’m losing- albeit not forever- and dims the details of what’s been found this summer.
But as I sit beneath the glow of golden lights draped above my bed, I’m more aware now that I’ve unwittingly found in Glacier what I’d hoped to discover all along.
And it outweighs the gloom of saying those goodbyes.
I’ve found it in the laughable moments of tourists asking questions like, “at what elevation do the deer turn into elk?”
And in the way sunlight mirrors the sharp outlines of mountains on the lucid waters of glacial lakes.
It’s in the snug silences of hiking with partners who know the best moments shared are often without words.
Or in the hours driven to fetch viable wifi and escape the bustle of tourists and along dizzying mountain roads.
It’s been present when, snuggled in sleeping bags, we’ve lain on the crux of the Continental Divide under a sleepy, starry night to watch meteors pull trails of light across the sky.
It’s in the way the Spruce and Aspen needles glint after heavy clouds wash them with their tears.
Often I see it in the faces of friends who remind me that this life is about the satisfying pain of growth and who hold back my hair when a night of drinking too much comes back to haunt me.
I’ve found it in fireside conversations about making new cities our homes and about boys and about the questions we have about what’s right and what’s wrong.
It proves in moments of embrace and in sharing warm meals and in welcoming in the newness of a stranger.
Sometimes it looks like giving hitchhikers rides or taking a nap or howling like a wolf from the top of a mountain pass.
It’s something I’ve had all along and didn’t realize I’d been so fervently ignoring.
And I see now that my summer has been a constant paradox of experiencing its significance and feeling the need to skirt it in conversations with the people I think won’t like me because of it.
But even in my most aggressive avoidances, it has miraculously managed to reinsert itself into my painful moments of growth, into moments after hurtful words are slung, into the breath I took as I decided to write this.
Its bigness is sometimes scary, its existence the biggest relief. Sometimes it doesn’t seem possible, others a prerequisite.
But it will change the way you see this world and overwhelm your heart with love.
What I’ve found in Glacier is something I hope you find for yourself one day.
I hope it fills you and gives you hope. I hope it makes you alive to all the light in this world the way it has for me.
What I’ve found in Glacier is God.