Norman’s Got Nothing on Missoula


I hold a small corner of Missoula. Impossible to find and tucked in behind another house, our house is the sweet spot in a sweet town. Double sweet, that is where we live. Where the roads all somehow, magically discontinued. The roads that aren’t there leave a field, smack in the middle of a neighborhood. In that field, we live in the country. It is space and wildlife and kids playing. It is neighborhood Easter egg hunts, sledding on what we affectionately dubbed “Liability Hill.” Trick or treat. Hide and seek. Endless acres of imagination.

Norman Rockwell’s got nothing on this place.

I am held by a remarkable group of Missoulians. The “fam” is made up of old and new friends. I have never been one to believe in a distinction between friend and family—it always seemed to me that family is amazing, so why limit the friendships?

This weekend, our field and our “family” converged for a completely spontaneous picnic. The long sunny afternoon unfolded and people just kept dropping by. And they stayed. I was so content, I might as well have been purring.

Dinner was made with whatever was laying around. The closest person kissed boo-boos. The soccer balls came out. Kick-the-can erupted in a fit of nostalgia and wholesomeness.

And at the end of the day, somewhere between the dandelion crowns and the magic light of sundown, everyone drifted off with about the same speed and casualness as they arrived.

Missoula is an exercise in perspective. This is the good life; most days it is the great life. The trick is to see it. To see the way it takes both landscape and community to make a space amazing. Simply sending the kids outside to play with the neighbors is something to notice.

The nostalgia of our town is also its future. The ability to take people back to their childhoods, to a time when the grasses were hip-height and adventure called from right outside your door. Opportunity is only as good as your ability to see it, seize it, celebrate it and in Norman’s case, draw it. There are perfect afternoons to be had, damn near every day. I will keep the field mowed and an empty can at the ready just in case.

Like this blog?  Check out more blogs from the Mama About Town, Elke Govertsen:  Anywhere but Missoula, MT, or It’s all Relative, or Having it All.  And check out Missoula Children and Nature Network and Active Moms Missoula.

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Bio: Elke Govertsen is the publisher of Mamalode which is a magazine and website for area moms. When not juggling her family, business, and the laundry (disclosure – there is no laundry being done whatsoever), Elke tries to eek out time to write, do yoga, and read like a fiend.