Dozing polar bear, Indianapolis Zoo

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mr. Tester goes to Washington. Poor thing.

As much as I wanted Jon Tester to be elected to represent Montana in the United States Senate, I feel a little sorry for him now that his election has come to pass.

Because now he has to leave Montana and go spend most of his time in Washington, D.C.


I'm a person for whom urban life loses more allure with every passing year. At first I thought this was evidence of a growing introversion chipping away at my longstanding need to be in the thick of human interaction. But that's not really the case. The reality for me is that, paradoxically, I often feel more isolated in the city where I live most of the time than at my place in Teenytown, Montana.

Here, our neighbors are fifteen feet away and we speak rarely. There, our only neighbors on the mountain are about a quarter mile down the gravel road, and we have dinner together regularly when we're there. Once every couple of days, their year-old Newfoundland will trot up the road and up the stairs to our kitchen for a visit, an ear scratch, and a doggie biscuit. Despite the reputation of rural folk as close-minded and insular, my experience in Montana is that the openness of the land seems to parallel an openness of its residents to other people.

My sympathy for Senator-elect Tester is, I acknowledge, an act of rank projection. For all I know, Jon Tester can't wait to hightail his flattop to D.C. and start frequenting the cocktail party circuit. (Though somehow I doubt it.) But I hope the good Senator, who after 8 years in politics still "does some of his best thinking" on his tractor, can find enough time -- for his own sake -- to spend on his organic farm during the next six years.

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