Jenna Caplette
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On the first day of hunting season in 2015, and a few days after opening this autumn, I climbed a mountain road above Jardine with my dog, both of us outfitted in florescent orange. It was a little like climbing a dirt road freeway, with a veritable rainbow of trucks passing, fathers and sons, friends, everyone outfitted in orange, many in camouflage. 

It was fun, like a progressive, uphill party. Several drivers stopped to chat including the owner of a mountain lodge who drove a battered old Subaru instead of a shiny new pick up. Mostly they wanted to admire my dog. One man stopped to be sure I was OK, sitting on a rock in the sun, resting.

A big buck deer ran by North and I, running up from the outfitters camp below. Running for its life. Running for llife.

It’s good I saw him before my dog or I would have been walking alone. A couple days later, a hunter spooked 7 antelope and North was gone in a second, running, running. And then I could see him thinking about what he was doing, maybe finally registering my voice, my call, slowing, slowing, pausing, smelling around, reassessing, then turning back to me. A bit of a miracle always with this rescue dog.

As I walked that road from Jardine, orange and yellow leaves sifted down to the road from aspen & other deciduous trees along the way. It used to be that by late October, there would be no leaves left to showcase autumn color.

Later in the day, my daughter and I drove in to Yellowstone and caught got in a buffalo jam. A man climbed out of the passenger seat of a vehicle, his orange vest making it apparent that he did not believe the flyer he surely had been handed, the flyer about not approaching bison. He crept along the side of his SUV, until he was just 10 feet from big buffs, trusting that the vehicle behind him would guarantee his safety as he snapped photographs. Maybe though the buffs were no more interested in the humans they passed than they were the vehicles themselves, their eyes big and red-rimmed, the fur russet, as they trudged & tumbled by.

We passed meadows of rippled with umber to russet to flat, tawny yellow. My right hand grasps the Corolla’s grey steering wheel and I notice my mother’s carnelian ring, its deep umber the color the same as my the tips of my hair as the last of its russet red fades to silver.

Carnelian. I Goggle it, curious what it’s qualities are. says it invokes the 2nd chakra, the center of the body’s life force, stimulating metabolism and a good supply of blood to the organs and tissues. It’s the color of adventure and social connection. It’s optimistic, sociable and extroverted.

The website “Empower Yourself With Color Psychology describes orange as “probably the most rejected and under used color of our time.”  It doesn’t seem that way in Bozeman, where  ubiquitous Road Closed, Road Construction, Slow signs show up apparently at random, everywhere. It’s an ever changing landscape of which road might actually get you where you want to go.

Also in Bozeman, obnoxious orange trucks were the beginning of a handyman business some years back. Now I see that they have upgraded to new vehicles, not dented-repaints. Orange worked for them.

Downstairs as I write my daughter is prepping bright orange carrots for our lunch, mixing sparkling water with orange juice.

Enjoy the colors, the flavors, the changing life-force of this season, a harvest of all that has been, the emergence of what will be.


Jenna Jenna Caplette migrated from California to Montana in the early 1970s, first living on the Crow Indian reservation. A Healing Arts Practitioner, she owns Bozeman BodyTalk & Integrative Healthcare. For relaxation, she reads novels and walks the trails around Bozeman with her four legged companion. Oh, and sometimes she manages to sit down and write.