Spring has finally arrived in Montana and Spring makes all of the difference. I had forgotten my love of the sun shining warm upon my face, the sound of birds, and the color of green.
This past Friday, early evening, I visited a local brewery with fellow teachers to have a few craft, artisan beers. We drank outside, and we smiled knowing we are near the end of the school semester. We smiled, too, I think, that the evening was so beautiful. The sun touched our skin, the skies were clear, and the temperature was 68. This is near bliss, especially after a record-breaking winter of snow fall and cold.
I believe grace is ever present in our lives, that in each and every single moment, within the flow of life, there is grace within us and around us. Our work, I think, is to breathe, slow down, and to notice the sweet blessings of life.
To stand with peers, with friends, drinking a beer many people have put much time and effort into creating, to art in practice, on such a beautiful Montana day, was striking to me. I felt, in that moment, on Friday evening, that I was right where I was supposed to be doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. It was a grounding moment for me.
During one conversation with two teaching peers, the topic of politics came up. As we talked, I finally whispered tentatively that I believed, after a lot of analysis in my life, that I was, politically speaking, a Libertarian Socialist. I was scared of what their response might be, because in this day, one never knows. They both immediately cheered me and they raised a toast! They are in the same camp, and have come to the same conclusions in their own lives. I never would have imagined.
One of the very cool and unique things about Montana is that it’s a live and let live state. It really is. This idea of live and let live is culturally bound within the state and within the people. It is a Montanan ethos and I have not experienced this anywhere else in my life.
What this means, practically, is that in Montana, one can be a socialist, a communist even, and one can be a conservative libertarian. One can be a cowboy, ranch hand, or a hippie. As long as one respects and honors the other and leaves them be, all will be well. Montanans are not trying to convert disciples to their political cause, they are simply living their own lives and expect that others will let them live that life and as a matter of course, will let others live their lives.
I love this about Montana, and I love this about Montana while drinking local, craft beer with friends on a perfect Montana evening.