Hunting for Clarity on Thanksgiving Break

By CLAY SPRINGMEYER

Thanksgiving break! What better way to celebrate broken treaties and the semi-destruction of an entire culture than indulging in gluttony and rabid shopping competition for a week?

Okay, cynicism aside, Thanksgiving serves as a wonderful excuse for getting together with family and telling them how much you really do love them, not being in school for five days, eating delicious food, and counting your blessings. Or, if you’re a Black Friday enthusiast, it’s a good time to break out the pepper spray and join in on some mob mentality shopping.

Before I count my blessings, though, allow me a whine: My back, tied in a square knot from a collision with a car outside the Bridge Pizza whilst riding a borrowed bicycle, has been the gorilla on my back for the last month. I limp about like an old man and grunt getting in and out of chairs. With finals coming up, school work has been piling up like leaves in autumn, so come has the season of frantically raking – a difficulty with my elderly back.

That being said, I couldn’t be more thankful for Missoula’s Alpine Physical Therapy. I showed up last week and my P.T., Leah, after numerous pokes and prods and stretches, informed me:

“Wow, your back is pretty messed up.”

She also gave me a group of Yoga stretches to get my body back on track and told me that walking will be my main source of exercise for a while. If you’re in Missoula and need physical therapy, I cannot recommend Alpine enough. Their staff is friendly and professional, and the scene buzzes with happy people who are in pain yet know they’re working towards health with people who care about them.

I’m also thankful for my friend Troy, who has proven to be an excellent mentor in all things outdoors. He has helped me improve my abilities as a fisherman, marksman, and hunter, and this week he took me hunting for my first time. Although I didn’t kill anything, I was perfectly content limping about the Bureau of Land Management land near Townsend with my father’s Remington .270 slung over my shoulder. I got taken up in the thrill of tracking a deer’s hoof prints through the snow, and caught a glimpse of the largest moose I’ve ever seen.

Although I had allowed myself to get gloomy from a variety of outside forces, hiking cross-country through the beautiful Montana landscape betwixt sagebrush and pines for two days put things in perspective. I’m not trying to romanticize this. Our landscape inspires me and calms me down in ways that are difficult to describe. Whether you’re in Missoula or not, if you live or have ever lived in Montana, count yourself lucky. Twenty years of living in Big Sky Country have taught me to be thankful.

I also remember to be thankful that I live in a house, as one in four children in the United States, over 17 million, are currently homeless in our own country. I also remember that unemployment is at a staggering 9% in the U.S., that’s nearly 30 million people without even a part-time job.

Don’t forget to count your blessings this holiday season.

Thanks for reading, be good to each other.

– Clay

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Like this blog post by Clay Springmeyer? Read more about life at the UM FLAT in his other posts: Playing in a Missoula Band Called the Trees, Folk Musician Chris Bathgate Plays at UMFLAT, and Zootown Nightlife.

   See the entire “A Day in a UM Life”archive.

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A little about Clay: He escapes the city as often as possible to go on random outdoor excursions. He enjoys standing in the middle of bridges for extended periods of time. He loves reading. He loves dogs. He also loves making music, dancing, potlucks, pretending to be a zombie on Halloween, gardening, running on trails, cooking with garlic, copious amount of hot sauce, falling leaves in autumn, and drinking black coffee. He also loves writing, and feels fortunate to offer his perspective as a college student to the Make it Missoulacollective.