Interstate 90 is visible from our campsite but, believe me or not, it doesn’t intrude. Although we can see eastbound and westbound traffic rolling by over a mile away, we can’t hear a thing. It’s only motion, irrelevant and easily ignored.
We have other diversions.
I wouldn’t call myself a “birder.” Never have been — I probably don’t have the patience for it. There’s a certain draw here, though, to just sitting still and watching, with or without binoculars, as the nearby prairie wetland comes alive each day.
Since we arrived I’ve spotted a bald eagle, northern harriers, a great blue heron, Canada geese, mallards, blue-winged teals, red-winged blackbirds, house sparrows, tree swallows, barn swallows and mourning doves.
Some birds we saw six weeks ago have moved on. There are no yellow-headed blackbirds, no western meadowlarks, no robins.
Beyond feathered entertainment, ground squirrels skitter around everywhere, preparing for winter. Prairie dogs play on a hillside above the opposite shore. A local rancher pastures his longhorns just west of the sod poodles’ burrows. Other beef cattle dot the grassland close by — Black Angus, Red Angus, Charolais.
On the wilder side, as we’ve driven around we’ve seen pronghorn, whitetail and bison.
Up in Montana, near Flathead Lake, we saw a black bear.
It’s of great disappointment to Deb, however, that as common as bighorn sheep are in this area, especially west toward the badlands, we haven’t spied a single one. And nowhere on our journey have we come across moose or elk.
But we’ve seen so much. Glassy high-country lakes. Snow-capped mountains. Lush river valleys. Vast plains. Other-worldly landscapes. Blazing sunsets and soft sunrises. A canopy of stars. Wonders surround us wherever we are — all we have to do is slow down and see.
These are simple things. We let the world present itself. Pleasure and peace come when we’re still.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.