River lights contentment


River lights by Montana Outdoors, December 13, 2010.

Montana Outdoors is a photography blog and the above photo is one of many excellent shots of nature’s grandeur in winter.  Its author wrote the following in his introduction to his blog that has been published since 2006,

I am privileged to live in western Montana, close to the wilderness and roadless areas that I love so much, and I’m thankful that I am still able to venture up into them and spend much of my time there.

Most of the photos that I post are of scenes that cannot be seen from from roads or highways. There is a very beautiful world out there in the wild country and it is my wish to make it visible, by words and photographs, to those who are interested in enjoying it.

It seems that many folks have all but forgotten that we are part of that natural world and that ultimately it sustains us in both body and spirit. My hope is that we will have the wisdom and the discipline to preserve it for future generations, for once the wilderness has vanished, mankind will soon vanish as well.

Readers, you must go to Montana Outdoors website for it is a beautiful paean to all things, big and small, in the outdoors.

* * *

In concord with Montana and the holiday season, Sam Travers, Christmas in the Old West: A Historical Scrapbook, has a note about Christmas at the Saleesh House in Montana in 1813, from the pen of trader Ross Cox,

Our hunters killed a few mountain sheep, and I brought up a bag of flour, a bag of rice, plenty of tea and coffee, some arrowroot, and fifteen gallons of prime rum.  We spent comparatively happy Christmas and, by the side of a blazing fire in a warm room, forgot the suffering we endured in our dreary progress through the woods.

* * *

From The San Saba News (Texas), December 15, 1883, here is a comment about Christmas and the progress of time,

Christmas is near at hand — two weeks from Tuesday — and each day between now and the great event will drag wearily away to the little folks.  What a pity it is men cannot experience on this day of peace and good-will to all the unalloyed happiness they did as boys.  But then years bring experience and ofttimes misery, and happy is he who can retain even until middle life a touch of boyhood’s pleasures.

The editor of The San Saba News wrote columns upon columns of prose each week for a frontier community far removed from trolley cars and opera houses.  In other news, the little town of San Saba celebrated Christmas by gift giving and church gatherings.  Several advertisements listed gifts men and women might enjoy, such as colognes and mustache cups.

Whether Montana or Texas, people seem to find a way to transcend their discontent by celebration and looking upon light from a river in winter.



The San Saba News from the nineteenth century is found on Chronicling America The Library of Congress link on the sidebar under small town newspapers in Texas.

I had pulled together the San Saba editorial and the Old West scrapbook piece for two separate posts, but when I came across River Lights by Montana Outdoors, I brought them together in one post.  I think we all find a way to get by the holidays, be it “prime rum” or family gatherings.  Since my family is scattered in Texas and Florida, I go to Santa Fe more often than not at Christmas.  This Christmas of 2010 I am not sure where my wife and I will be.  In any case, and this is my point, nature is outside my window and there I can find a measure of contentment — River Lights always beckon.  Always.



Filed under Christmas, Santa Fe

7 responses to “River lights contentment

  1. Kittie Howard

    happy is he who can retain even until middle life a touch of boyhood’s pleasures.

    nature is outside my window and there I can find a measure of contentment.

    The magic of your blog lies in the above.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention River lights contentment | Sage to Meadow -- Topsy.com

  3. The wonderful quote from Montana Outdoors kind of sums it all up for me. Couldn’t have been said better by anyone.

    I also really liked the image of eating mountain goat by a fire with a glass of rum. Rustic, basic, my kind of lifestyle.

    Thanks for these flavors of the west.

  4. When I read the San Saba News article about Christmas and the progress of time, I immediately thought of Robert Burns…

    The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
    Gang aft agley,
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promis’d joy.

    Yup, that’s life. It was true then and still is now. Let the kids have their Christmas. I’ll skip it, but will be certain to make a toast to the stoics.

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