I Say No To A Montana Rat Race

Angie Ripple

Like the rest of the world, Montana is going through massive changes that will likely have decades of impact. I’d like to see more Montanans standing up for the way of life they have worked hard to ensure for their children—not the rat race, a slower version of a life you are able to enjoy minute to minute. A life marked by the crow of a rooster at dawn, a cup of coffee as the sun rises, a walk in the neighborhood with a dog or a friend, shoveling your sidewalk each time it snows, collecting your neighbor’s mail while they’re away, a sense of peace as your head hits your pillow each night. The world deserves all of this, and Montana has it in spades.

The Montana values instilled in me as a child growing up in a town of less than 1,000 people on the Flathead Reservation in Northwest Montana are incalculable. Children learn, whether or not anyone is directly teaching them. They learn from the energy around them, and when the energy is directed at the protection of the land and people, it feels like a safe place. The neighborliness I grew up with was a community experience; our neighbors were not merely folks we waved to on the way by, they were a lifeline. Though I make my way home infrequently, when I do, my favorite people greet me so warmly I can feel it through the space between us.

I mention this to reveal the heart of Montana—the families who have worked from dawn until dusk to manage crops, the grocery store owners in small towns across the state entrusted to feed their communities, teachers and truck drivers, mechanics and gravediggers, mothers and loggers, welders and clerks. It feels a lot like these hard-working Montanans are being overlooked while our state is being sold out from underneath our feet.

Winter will instantly reveal each of our characters and values, as it powerfully reminds us to slow down. Will you be a good neighbor this winter? Will you slow down enough to enjoy all of the natural beauty that surrounds us, and be kind to both the land and the people who have built this community? Will your impact be positive or negative? It is up to each of us to decide each day to enjoy the sunrise and help a neighbor, to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. I’ll be spending November in gratitude for the generations who made Montana the most livable place.   

This was made by