The Color of Wheat

5 Aug

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“Is this hotel really haunted?” 

“Oh yes.  But just the third floor.  We keep it locked”

Fort Peck Hotel, August 3rd 2015

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The morning came early, as promised.  Apologies to Grand Forks.  As wonderful as you probably are, we blew right past you in exhaustion, only to land in a convention center/hotel/condo gulag  to your southwest.  Your sunrise the next morning was, nevertheless, gorgeous.

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The morning  sun across the fields is spectacular, teaching me the beauty of grass against wheat against sky.  It becomes clear to me for the first time that great artists learn about color from nature, not a textbook.

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And so we keep pulling over to the side of the road and stepping into the morning wind.

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And walking through the quiet towns.

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We hear the train before we see it, and rush to tracks where we see nothing in either direction.  Getting back into the car we hear it again, closer this time, and we run back.  Still nothing. “Maybe there’s another set of tracks,’ I say.  And then it’s there, coming fast out of the east.

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The combination of empty roads, great speed limits and a time zone crossing that works in our favor, allows us to arrive early in Fort Peck, Montana.  A town built from nothing by the WPA to house the men working on the Fort Peck Dam, we are booked into the former workers lodge, now the Fort Peck Hotel.

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Beaver pelts, moose heads, a wolf skin and more stuffed birds than I can count, with a bar in the lobby, it is everything I hoped for.DSC_0708

Built on a hill, there’s a loneliness to the town.

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And though the it fills up for the afternoon performance of Tarzan, The Musical at this gorgeous theatre rebuilt by volunteers from the movie theatre built for the dam workers back in the ’30s, it is quiet again by dusk.

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An island of homes in a sea of sagebrush.

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