"Montana"

Andrew Thomas Liberacki

c. 1970s

Some minor editorial changes were made while transcribing the text from the original; primarily by changing punctuation.

Rolling hills that are green for miles and miles. Just green.

It must have been beautiful before the White men came with their roads and fences.

There are no trees to speak of yet. The mountains to the west of here are still mostly snow covered.

It was overcast yesterday and they looked black and white with the tops in the clumps of rain clouds that hung too low.

Today is sunny and there are just a few small clouds here and there. They look like smoke from the musket.

There is a good breeze that makes the trees bob and dance like a sparing prizefighter.

Yesterday, I could see the mountains but I did not go see them because they would not be as pretty as with the sun on them. Today, I will see them. If the sun had not come out while I was here I would not have gone to see them. The first time will give me good memories in case I don't see them again for a long time. I only have time to visit them and not enough time to get to know them.

I'll go back to yesterday now and tell you what I saw and felt.

First I was impressed with the vastness and sorry that the land is being used by White men for commercial use. The roads cut through it. This, I feel, should not be done. I use the roads because they are there. If they weren't there, I would be just as happy. Then, if there was something I wanted to see, I would have to find another way.

When I saw the Blackfoot Indian Reservation, at first I thought maybe they complain about nothing because it is beautiful with mesas, gullies, mountains, streams, and open sky. Then I took a closer look.

Their nation was once a thousand miles wide and a thousand miles long. Now it is 75 miles long and fifty miles wide. The White man could not even leave this token property alone. More roads and towns were put on their lands. They have little left.

As I traveled south, I would stop and climb a hill or a mesa just to see what once must have been Lukasa's1 Greatest.

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Yesterday, I went 120 air miles in 14 hours. Saw antelope and moose in the mountains and foothills, criss crossed the divide several times, took all back roads. At one point, there was a heard of horses.

I am not really impressed with the mountains. They are very pretty, but I wouldn't want to live in them. They seem too confining with big hills all around. I feel like I'm in a cup all the time. I don't get this feeling in the plains where you can see for miles. At least in the plains sometimes you get to the highest point in the area. In the mountains never. I'm always looking up at something. I would rather look down. The roads don't take me where I want to be; on the top of the mountain peaks.

Because of this closed in feeling, even though I wanted to go to IDAHO and I'm almost there (26 mi), I am going to head back to the plains where I feel at ease. Lukasa looks down with scorn on those who enter here. The only way to feel at ease here would be to go to the top of Lukasa to see what he sees. Someday I will.

Lukasa does not look down in scorn. I guess he just says "Come see my trees. Come walk on my snow. Come see what I see." He is majestic here. Toegomi2 is but a visitor. Lukasa needs him but send him but sends him down the mountain rudely and quickly as if to say "This in me. Go away."

Butte is or it look like a very old town with its buildings mad of old red bricks that are weather worn and with flat stepping roofs that follow the contour of the streets. The streets are black top but they should be brick, too. Perhaps due to progress, the bricks were covered up. The people here are friendly as they are in all of Montana.

This town is built on a hill. The stores are small and have uneven creaky wooden floors. I wonder if they get much snow here.

The restaurant I had breakfast in was open from 7-3. It was small. It had wooden booths and a counter with stools so close together people sitting on them would be cheek to cheek. The shelves behind the counter were held in position by wooden dogs; the kind we used to make in shop in school because we didn't know what else to make. This must be the morning coffee shop like all small towns have.

This is not the cowboy town that Great Falls was. The residential area seems to be down in the flats with the business district on the hill. There are many seedy looking bars and what appear to be women of the night. The painted signs on the side of the stores are faded and many you can't read.

I headed south from Butte and went into Idaho for a short ways then headed east, though I didn't want to, through Yellowstone. I saw the elk and walked in the snow where I left my footprints. Soon they will be part of Lukasa then Toegomi, but I shall always remember them and they shall always be part of me.

I left my mark again in the snows of the Big Horn Mountains. Very nice; as was the East Gate to Cody. Different from each other.

The big horn had more snow and was the best yet with its rolling top; not ragged like the others and more snow & more antelope than I've seen so far.

As I move east, the people seem less friendly. Montana seemed quite friendly; and western Wyoming.

Today, I went to Lovell from Cody. Then on to Sheridan. 140 miles. 12 hours.

Tomorrow morning, I shall go to church to thank God for letting me see and guiding me to all these magnificent things even though I feel closer to Him on the mountain.

Sheridan seems to be another put-on town, keep up with the Joneses; even the young kids with their 4-wheel drive hot rods and cowboy hats with a Burger King pin on it. The adults don't even seem friendly to each other. They seem to think they should have more and better. There are no Tonas here. I feel the cleanest of mind & soul that I've ever felt.

Today, I headed for Denver. Stopped in medicine Bow and talked with an old rancher. Should have gone to Rawlins, but passed it. I don't know why I should go to Rawlins, but I will.

Left Denver for Utah, but was drawn north; back towards Rawlins. Stopped to visit Toegomi in northwestern Colorado, but Lukasa still rules here. They both joined up to guide me north with snow blocked roads and mud that caused me to go north. I don't know what is there, but I must go that direction. It is something the way I have been guided on this trip. I often times stop for no reason. I get out and go walking. There is always something wonderful to see. Always.

Something new and beautiful. I think I am being guided by a force I can't explain. Only God knows. Perhaps He will show me his wild horses.


1 I have not been able to determine who Lukasa is. However, I know that it is not the memory bag—called a Lukasa—used by the Luba.

2 I have not been able to determine who Toegomi is.

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