This article by Antonia Malchik reflects on her personal journey moving back to her hometown in Montana. It focuses on her deep sense of gratitude for the natural environment and community. She discusses the annual Gathering of the Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance, celebrating the retirement of the last remaining oil lease in the area, which is significant for the Blackfeet Nation.
The part of the article in which I’m most interested is towards the end: a reflective moment by a creek. She writes about the importance of being present in nature and contemplating one’s place and responsibilities in the world. That feeling of being in and of nature after a day’s walking, feeling quite emotional. It stirs my soul just thinking about it.
On my way home, I stopped at a creek I’m fond of, near a trailhead leading into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The parking lot was empty of other cars or people. Last year when I’d camped there, the creek had held a delightful number of cylindrical caddisfly shells constructed from gravel about the size of a sesame seed. I looked for them but it was too late in the year.
Source: Sometimes there’s a right answer, sometimes you sit by a creek, and sometimes they’re the same thing | On The Commons
The creek ran cold across my bare feet, its sound and movement and chilly reminders of snowmelt all I really need in this world to ground myself in what’s real, and what matters. I sat there letting my feet go numb and the sound run through me, September’s late afternoon sunlight filtering through the aspen trees to glance off the water.
I don’t even know what to call that sound—a trickle, a ripple, a slow rush?
Sometimes the right answer is an action. Sometimes it’s a change in policy, or in culture. And sometimes it’s simply being, sitting there by a creek reminding yourself what it feels like to be alive, in a place you love. It’s asking questions of belonging and responsibility, and struggling with your own place in the world.
That sound is all of life to me. I could have sat there forever, grown cold and hungry, but I never for a moment would have felt alone.