I had a sufficiently restful time in Montana, not hurrying and not needing to be anywhere specific but choosing to visit the Miller ranch and then the Burradoo ranch; places, people and Kelpie dogs I know and love. In between the two ranches I traveled the Lamar Valley and the Road to the Sun, going across the Bear Tooth pass. I did not take any of my dogs with me on this trip but had a good idea that I would find myself in the company of dogs nonetheless.
Upon having a morning to myself on one of my first days at the Miller ranch, I collected Tanner (the fellow in the above photo) and went hiking up a long open draw in the hills. While up there I took photos and I sat still, doing little else but pondering, Tanner content to lie nearby and watch for antelope and gophers. Spread out in front of us is the thousands of acres that make up this ranch where this kelpie dog lives and works.
|The cattle have been moved to the lower grazing pastures at the base of the distant dark hills|
How striking that the connection to this place and these people is the result of a dog. And that I am welcomed with such openness and mutual understanding born out of a shared, soul-deep respect for animal and land that I can collect said dog as though he were my own, go for a hike across their land and feel so at ease with it all.
I’ve long believed people have purposes but now I think places have a purpose as well and the land won’t settle until the people it needs show up to help serve its purpose. When you visit places where the people and the place are aligned in their collective purpose you know you are in the midst of a special wonder. It tightens your breath a tad to be there among it all, and it strikes you in your heart to have to leave it behind. No matter the duration, I think if a vacation does that, it is a vacation well spent.
|Elk resting and grazing near the ranch yard|
|One of several deer and fawns spotted along the way, reminding me so much of sheep|