Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Brighter Side

There are people in my life who have accused me of being a relentless optimist. Maybe I’m guilty as charged, but why not? Why look on the dim side of things? You won’t change the reality of your circumstances, but you will make yourself miserable in the mean time. Blech! I like to be happy, and I’m always looking for a reason to be. I really do believe the promise that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” Romans 8:28 That means if something bad happens, I just have to look for the good; it’s always there somewhere.

Now I’m facing this move with a life-long and very determined habit of looking on the bright side. I know there will be a lot of things that will not be the same or, sometimes, even as good as I had them in California. When I face genuinely negative things, I have a two-pronged strategy.

First, I ask myself if I can change it. If I can’t change it, I try to put my mind on something positive. That looks like this: “The water in Montana tastes terrible! Ahhh, but all those lilac bushes are beautiful.” Then, if it’s something I can change or improve, I look for a way to do it.

In this post, I will list a few of the things I know I will miss in Montana, and how I plan to fix them as best I can.

The first thing that springs to mind is trees. Out here in California there are trees everywhere. Trees in town, trees in the country. Big, beautiful Valley Oaks, their branches spreading out in wild patterns. In Montana, not so much. There are trees in town, and people plant trees as wind breaks on their farms, but in between, trees are very rare. So, one of the first things I want to do at my new house is plant trees. Lots of trees. Trees to shelter the yard so I can plant more trees.

I know that during the long, white winters of the northern prairie, another thing I will miss is color. Out here, winter is the start of the green season, and wild flowers are coming in by late January, early February. On the prairie, it is predominately white for 4-5 months, with a month or two of brown on either end of that. So I know I will need color and lots of green growing things to keep me from getting the blues. Well, I like house plants, and Walmart has some very cheery paint colors, as my sister learned all too well! You may have to wear sunglasses indoors in my new home, but it will be CHEERFUL.

Another way that Montana comes short of California, at least in this humble writer’s opinion, is in diversity of food choices. It would be hard to equal the profuse bounty of the San Joaquin valley for produce, but it’s more than just a case of what grows there. California is very diverse culturally as well, and that is reflected in the supermarket aisle. Asian, Indian, Mexican, Italian, Jewish, and Caribbean dishes and tastes are all available to the pampered palate. I foresee a future of learning to make from scratch some of the ethnic treats that I have taken for granted my whole life. How exciting for my family!

Oh, and about the water. There’s not much I can do about that. I’ve heard rumors of complicated water softening systems and cisterns and such, but for now, I will be buying bottled water. However, as always, there’s a bright side. None of us will develop anemia---lots of iron in the water.

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