Following my Dearest’s death 7 months ago, and subsequently placing my home on the market, I am asked one question far more than any other: “Are you leaving Bozeman?”
My Home Listing: https://bit.ly/2rCA80Z
No, I am not leaving Bozeman. If anything, I am embracing it more than ever. I admit, in the first raw months after Robert’s passing, I considered returning to Kansas City, where we moved from 15 years ago, to be with my daughter and her family. I also considered the San Francisco Bay Area, where my mom and my brother’s family resides. I had wild thoughts of being a nomad, moving from one country to another, or finally attending the Culinary Institute of America. They take 68-year-olds, right?
And then it hit me: Bozeman is home, and I happen to like the sense of home. There’s a phrase all of those who have lost their spouse are told: “Don’t make any decisions for at least a year.” I’m far too impulsive to abide by that, but I recognize the sensibleness of taking time to let the heartbreak settle. That said, Bozeman is where I love to call home, and here are some of the many reasons why.
Community. A lot has been written about the Bozeman community, tied together by the University, nature at its best, Open Spaces, Big Skies, terrific outdoor activities, economic stability and opportunity, the healthy lifestyle, and friendliness. I find this the most exciting community imaginable. You stand in line at the Co-Op and the person beside you smiles and next thing you know you have connected and have plans to meet up for lunch. There’s something going on every day, whether it’s an invitation to go for a hike or fly fishing, a concert at the Fieldhouse, or dinner at a neighbor’s house. People are happy. They love living here.
Water and Air. The three things we all need to survive, first and foremost, are air, water, and food (I’ll get to the food later). Whenever I return from a trip and walk out of the airport, I gulp in a lungful of air and relax. The air is invigorating, fresh, pure, and as for the water, it’s sweet and quenches your soul as well as your thirst.
Livability. Life is straightforward in Bozeman. We may complain about traffic, but it is minor when compared to everywhere else that has anything going for it. Crime is minimal, and generally between folks who know each other. There’s not much stress as nature tends to be the predominant force rather than uptight or nasty people. There’s a layer of trust and respect amongst citizens. For the most part, we give each other the benefit of the doubt and are willing to have dialog and work together to reach consensus and solutions. This is a small town and folks know each other or have friends in common, which makes people behave a bit better than places inhabited by strangers.
Beauty. I find myself stopped in my tracks on a regular basis as I pinch myself and stare in awe at the beauty surrounding us. This Spring is the most gorgeous I remember, with trees ablaze in fuchsia, purple, lilac, and white, popping out in all their glory. But even in the mud season or on a dreary day, there is unfathomable beauty–the way the sun catches the Bridgers or hayfields ripple like the ocean in a breeze, or clouds form in shapes that you imagine to be some strange animal. Natural beauty is all around us. Everyday. As I frequently say, “There are no bad views in Bozeman, only different ones.”
Food. We have a real happening food scene with grocery stores, Farmer Markets, and restaurants that rival those in major cities. Saffron Table‘s Indian cuisine is marvelously spicy and world-class; Blackbird Kitchen serves bread that is better than any I have eaten anywhere. Blackbird also has a kale salad I could live on and wood-fired dishes that are scrumptious. Open Range makes a mean burger, along with fresh seafood, and much more, while Urban Kitchen pulls out all the stops, beginning with killer calamari. My list goes on and on — Wild Crumb and Knife for take-out sandwiches, the Co-Op for lunch 3 times a week, Starky’s for blow-out pastrami Reubens, Feast for addictive chicken wings, Sweet Chili for my Asian fix, the Emerson for a neighborhood feeling dinner with friends, and as for breakfast and lunch, between Jam, Nova Cafe, and Cateye Cafe it is difficult to decide.
Friends. This is a welcoming town. It’s easy to meet people in Bozeman that become lifelong friends. A majority of the people living here chose to move here, drawn by common interests and personalities. One of the many things I love about being partners with Mike Schlauch and helping folks moving here identify their new home is knowing that there is a strong possibility that my circle of friends is expanding. The folks moving here are self-selecting, and they help this town continue to be vibrant. We’re an educated community of artists, writers, athletes, free thinkers, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, conservationists, outdoor fanatics, dog lovers, skilled laborers, craftsmen, and rugged, passionate individualists. I have so many friends in Bozeman I love and care about, who add so much to my life, that it is impossible to think about moving away. It is my friends, more than all the above combined, that have made it easy to make the decision to stay without waiting the recommended year to decide.