Elk Dreams, A Montana Memoir
Copyright 2011 Carl Reader
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
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On our first morning in Montana, I thought Candy might jump from bed and rush frantically to the front window to check for elk and buffalo and moose on the front lawn. They, after all, were the reason we had thrown away our past lives and come here. Instead, she turned away from me in bed, groggy, and sat up on the edge of the air mattress, the images of the great gorgeous animals of the west forgotten.
“Oh, my head.”
Mine, too, a broken melon. We suffered the same introduction to Montana, for waking now was nothing but a headache. She rolled her head around on her neck, her lovely long bare legs stretched out to the floor from the bottom of her T-shirt and her long brown hair trailing down behind her. After a cross-country drive of six days, we had arrived at our rented home on South 7th Street in Hamilton in the Bitterroot Valley the previous afternoon and moved in with the few possessions we brought with us, along with our best friends, five cats and one dog. She had done the impossible and found a job here, which allowed us to move here, but I left my job as a sports editor behind and thought I would write fiction and photograph nature. The cats lay around the air mattress like children afraid to jump in a pool, and the dog lay with his back to the far wall snoring away. We had our camera equipment, which we both would use to attempt beginning careers as nature photographers, when time and situation permitted. We also had our clothes and the supplies for our animals. That was all. Gradually, we’d fill up this house with our many other possessions when the moving truck arrived from Pennsylvania. For now, the tiny ancient yellow Victorian seemed as empty as a cave. Pure sunlight weaved its way in through un-curtained windows. I knew what Candy’s complaint meant about her head, for the drive across the continent had seemed interminable, and we had been plagued by a massive snowstorm, a traffic accident that killed a man and the endless caring for our children, the cats and the dog.