Talk about opposites . . .
Question - What could make a born and bred New Yorker leave the city she loves for the mountains and wilderness of Montana?
Before I answer, let’s think about this….
Born and raised in Michigan, I had the opportunity to experience life both in a metropolitan area and (as Michiganders say) ‘up north’, in a more rural setting surrounded by forests and lakes. While this gives me a taste of two diverse settings, neither are the extreme.
I don’t think anyone would argue that New York City is the ultimate urban setting. It is home to over eight million people, not counting tourists and visitors. Wow! Imagine all the stories there. Reaching far to the other side of the spectrum is Montana with a population of just over one million…in the whole state!
We often tend to think of city dwellers as soft because of the many creature comforts a large urban area provides. True, civilization and big cities offer many conveniences but, to survive in NYC, you can’t be a cream puff. Contrary to what many believe, New Yorkers are outside…a lot. Walking to and from subway stops in blustery wind and blowing snow, fierce downpours or hot humid windless days…they need to be tough.
Cement sidewalks, granite curbs and endless stairs in the subway provide a daily work out…all while carrying commuter packs and groceries along with their cup of latte. But New Yorkers love it…they thrive on the hustle bustle. Sidewalks are crammed with people laughing, arguing, deep in conversation or silently immersed in their thoughts. It is a people place.
Montana wilderness, on the other hand, is a land of wide open spaces that offer vistas of tree topped mountains, ice cold rivers and of course, Big Sky. It is rugged country and their people are too. They are hard workers who have a slice of heaven and know it. A giant herd of elk crossing the road is the only time you’ll get stuck in traffic. It’s been said that the whole state is just one big small town.
Imagine as a New Yorker, trading in your sky scrapers for majestic pines. Instead of bumping shoulders on the crowded street you walk alone on dirt paths leading up a mountain side. Rather than inhaling exhaust fumes, your lungs are greeted with crisp, pine scented air. In place of blaring taxi horns, your ears are filled with nature’s symphony of birds singing to the tune of tree branches swaying in the wind.
If you are a city dweller, would you welcome the paradox world of Montana or find fault in it? Would you struggle like a fish out of water or welcome the flip-side of life?
In Montana Wild, Jamie the protagonist, struggles with guilt as she falls in love with Montana. New York City is her home…her first and only love and she has become unfaithful. While New York is still her heart, Montana has opened up a new chamber that she didn’t know existed. Blindsided by the rush of new experiences, emotions and wildlife, she tries to deny the change within. She is conflicted…should she resist or give in to the transformation?
Personally I love both worlds and would have a tough time choosing. I’ve always wondered if I am tough enough to live in NYC full time, 365 days a year, surrounded by millions every day. Or could I survive a Montana winter in the mountains, as Mother Nature blankets the state with an often brutal wintery wonderland.
It couldn’t be the physical environment alone that would cause me to pull up my roots and move. Certainly there were factors swaying Jamie’s decision. What were her reasons? What would push her over the edge?
Answer –a) the bond she shares with her co-rescuer after cheating death while rescuing a child
b) a surreal encounter with a divine spirit
c) befriending a volatile stallion
d) having the perfect man pursue you
e) majestic mountains
f) all of the above
What about you? What would it take for you to pick up and impulsively move to an opposite world?