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I didn’t know anyone when I moved to Big Timber in 2017. I purposefully took a
right hand turn in life and welcomed new adventures and a different pace of life.
What I really wasn’t looking for were new friends. I have enduring friendships
from high school and my best friend lives in the redwoods of California. I take
great comfort in these friendships. Being with them is like putting on a favorite
sweater on a chilly day. I like being at a stage in life where I don’t have to explain
myself and conversations pick up where they left off...even if that was a year ago.

There is a certain comfort living in a small town. Neighbors rely on each
other, conversations are fluid, off the cuff, and unguarded. Life just seems more
impromptu. So a few years ago when a friend put a four night pack trip together
with three other women I jumped at the chance to join. Of course, the idea of
being on horseback in the Montana wilderness was the draw but the real gift
ended up being the deep friendships that emerged from the mountains.

Perhaps sitting around a campfire, smelling the pine of the late summer
evening, and sharing bourbon set the stage to talk about our lives and share
stories. No one was judgmental nor offered unsolicited advice. We just listened,
talked, laughed, and talked some more. It really doesn’t matter what the spark
was. By the end of the trip, new, deep, and true bonds were made. Trust set the
stage for intimate sharing and that sharing led to as deeper trust. Just at the time
when none of us felt the need to add new friends to our lives, we did just that.

Our long summer days are long gone. During the winter two of us stay in
Montana and two depart for warmer climates. It is always sad to know we won’t
see each other as much during our snowy season but there is great solace
knowing we will pick up where we left off next spring. We will share new stories
and burdens, laugh and cry and be there for each other.....just like friends do.


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