between wide worlds

The backstory: I first visited Montana a year and a month after my husband walked out, a few weeks after I filed for divorce. My husband hadn’t responded to any of my emails, texts, or calls in nearly a year, yet I was terrified he’d choose that moment to pop up and interrupt the new life I was building.

So in what passes for secrecy in the digital world, I created a shortlist of Facebook Friends I could trust to keep a secret, and only they got details of my trip to Montana to visit my refound friend, Mr. Montana – a beau from 15 years before. I dubbed the list “In The Knowledge” after a clandestine spy group in a novel I was reading! #geek

As it happened, my cell phone service provider had zero coverage in the entire state (I divorced them, too) and the wifi was spotty and weak, so I didn’t send any letters from Montana that first visit, they all came before and after. This is one of the first I sent after.

{ In the Knowledge}

There are lakes on the high prairie that are packed with ducks and herons and swans, in season. But winter was on the way and the hunters were there already, so we didn’t see any fowl, just the flora and that long view I can’t seem to get enough of.

It’s not like the endlessness of the sea, ya know? It’s held in by mountains, and something about that distant boundary settles my churning mind.

The ocean is peaceful, but not restful, now that I think on it. I could meet with those mountains given time and sturdy boots, but I can’t walk across the sea, so its blue horizon stays out of reach. Oceans are all about the awe while mountains look like home.

You can’t see the western mountains from here, to Mr. Montana’s daily disappointment. The smoke from the forest fires blocks them out, as it had for weeks. They’re what he sees on his way to work, what reminds him why he’s there and why he bothers, and they’re what he most wanted me to see. I reminded him it was another good reason for me to return, which pleased him well enough.

We walked this ribbon of land for a good long ways, with me in the right track and him in the left one, waist-high grasses around and between us. To my mind, it’s where we were and are and will always be, walking with each other along a shared line of land between wide worlds, never touching, always near.



Crys Wood is the copyeditor + proofreader at Paper Crane Publishing, making a career of her innate pickiness and love of words. She lives not-so-quietly in Big Sky Country with her sweet and cranky old man, a cat who is more of the same, and stacks and stacks of books.