I've been away from the tipi for a few days, actually, I've been away for an entire week. I hadn't realized it was that long until I thought about it this afternoon. Crouching down to enter the A-frame door of my humble abode I found everything to be the way I left it. The door was open, but that happens sometimes. It could have been the wind that swayed the rock enough to un-trap the string and allow the door to swing open (yes, my security system is a canvas door with strings attached to both sides and rocks to hold the strings in place), it could have been shadow letting himself in for an evening snack. Other than that, things were the same, the grill was still over the fire, the pots and pans were still on the top shelf. My swimming trunks were still dangling from the fence where I left them after my shower (oops)
It's just like living in a house; things stay where you leave them, weather you're gone for a day or a week. That's not to say everything stays how you leave it. I've notice big changes in fact. As I walked the short dirt path through the tall grass from my car to my tipi I noticed a reduction. The number of grasshoppers that chatter and jump has declined rapidly. The second change I noticed when I was doing some cleaning and purging of things around the tipi and looked up at the sun to find it already gone at 7:30, and now I lay, in the dark, at 8:30 typing this message slowly while using the light of my laptop screen to find those unfamiliar punctuation marks. Just one week ago I would have had 15 more minutes of light!
It's hard to fathom how things can change so quickly, yet it happens every year, it's just that usually I wake up one morning and realize that summer is gone and fall is here. Now I'm actually witnessing summer slipping silently out the back door while others may have their heads turn. I'm seeing the day-by-day changes that cumulate into the massive change that is Montana Summer to Montana Winter. Indeed, it's sad to see it slip away, I feel like I’ve only gotten a taste of what this landscape has to offer, but I'm also excited to see it go. As summer slips out fall and winter take its place on the dance floor.
I've been in the tipi for about 6 weeks now. I've got this summer thing down. I can cook, wash up, sleep, I can do everything I need to do in the tipi, and not once have I been discouraged or second-guessed my decision. The Montana summer is a companion, not an opponent. It's good that I've started with such a gentle season, but now I'm ready for the fun to begin. Living in a tipi in winter in Montana is going to be on heck of a ride. Every day I get a minute or two of daylight closer to those 5pm sunsets and bone chilling temps. Let the games begin.