Bill Muhlenfeld
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“I went to Montana because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~ Henry David Thoreau: Walden, 1854

We rather like the sound of the quote, with apologies to Thoreau for substituting “Montana” for “the woods,” though we are certain he would have approved the sentiment had he been able to experience life in this magnificent state. Though Thoreau is long gone, his idea of living “deliberately,” in our view is a characteristic we find in most of the Montanans we have met and known; and an attribute which, like a Rubik’s Cube, has many sides and patterns. Consciously and intentionally, people in the Treasure State purposely turn and adjust their life-cubes in a variety of designs which usually include purposeful themes of work, outdoor activity, neighborliness, freedom (and room) to roam, with a stiff measure of solitude always near-at- hand. And we might add that these special Montana-cubes always include an edgy fragrance of caution, whether it be from weather, wildlife or tricky terrain.

Winter, certainly, is the ultimate proof that we live in Montana deliberately, as skimpy daylight, biting temps and every manifestation of snow and ice known to the Eskimo pulls Montanans inward to hearth and home, as if cut-off from civilization itself. We venture out when and where we can, wrapped in wooly, warm garb, our winter gear, snow tires and a certain “Montanatude” at the ready. If you are not lucky enough to live here, this may puzzle you a bit, but know that most everyone here has made a conscious choice to make this their home and to welcome the joys and challenges of each glorious season.

So enjoy another Montana winter…deliberately!


Bill MuhlenfeldBill Muhlenfeld is owner and publisher of Distinctly Montana magazine and other publications. He lives in Bozeman with his wife and co-owner, Anthea George, and always finds time to enjoy the great outdoors, when he is not writing about it...