Far Above Paved Society

Patrick - Claremont, California
Entered on April 24, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in being above and beyond society’s ability to categorize me for any purpose…

Every year I visit my family’s cabin in Montana, the river flows around me and the mountains soar far above the skyscrapers I know so well, I am home. An hour and a half up the dirt road, outside the closest town with a gas pump, comes our log cabin. The Boulder road only stretches two more miles, but it is this remote access that gives entrance into territory most back home would hardly call civilization. Only a handful of other cabins exist along the road, each miles apart, leaving wilderness to exist within the smallest knowledge of human presence.

This cabin is a large part of who I am, a hiker and an avid fly-fisherman living life in its simplest form. No television, no radio, and running water coming from the river that flows a stones throw away from the patio made of big rock slabs. My identity exists here, yet it also exists in the cities that I have grown up in. Minneapolis, Billings, Salt Lake City, and finally Seattle. My childhood is blended between these urban metropolises and the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, home of mountain ranges thousands of feet above even the tallest skyscrapers. My friends in the city always called me “country boy,” as I had more desire than them to live out where they would think nothing exists. However, my family and friends in Montana always saw me more of a city kid, I was not born and raised in Montana like my dad, mom, or cousins. I have never gone hunting nor do I have cattle in my backyard, but I still knew some of that was in me.

It is the serenity of nature that I believe taught me lessons to keep calm in the bustle and flow of the city. Eleven thousand feet and four miles above the cabin lies sections of rivers and lakes, full of trout, and free of highways and the nations worst traffic. The combining of cultures has been my greatest experience, giving me the gift of enjoying the simple things. Spending ten days only with life’s necessities and family are the most rewarding days of the year. Catching up with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents quickly makes me forget about my cell phone, laptop, and what I could be missing back home.

Crossing lines of society’s characterizations is a privilege, and as I may not fit in completely on both sides of my upbringing, I wonder why society is so quick to put titles on people. Individuals often feel the need to fit into a certain group, but as for me, I want to be me. I surround myself with people who have not adapted to be just like others, but who accept each other for the person that is different than them. Both Montana and the city will always be part of me no matter where my actual home may be.