Periodically, my DH and I decide we need to “get out of Dodge.” This past weekend, we decided to explore Whitefish, Montana. The town is slated to be in an upcoming story–part of my Choteau Mountain series. It’s a pretty little town in which I haven’t spent much time–other than driving through it on a school bus.
Years ago, when I taught on the Blackfeet Reservation, we took the kids to Big Mountain in Whitefish to go skiing.
This was before snowboarding caught on, but there was no fear in those junior high kids. Often I’d be on the chairlift to get to the top for my cautious trip down the mountain when one of my students would zip by, shout my name, and keep going.
Fast forward several…er…decades later… Our trip was more sedate, but equally delightful. We left computers at home, only bringing books to read and a spirit of adventure. Whether you’re writing, doing sports, or living life, a good dose of curiosity makes it much more enjoyable.
This time serendipity came in the form of an Earth Day Celebration. We arrived at the green by the depot just in time to see the raptor display. While the birds all stayed with their handlers, it was amazing to see their size and learn about the traits they display to make sure they eat on a regular basis. All the birds in the show were rescue birds.
In addition to the great gray owl to the left, there was a pygmy owl, screech owl, and very indignant barn owl. A huge ferruginous hawk flapped its wings and peered about for something good to eat. A peregrine falcon, the fastest bird on the planet, sat serenely, but watched everyone.
We were fascinated. As we read later that night, I was enjoying C.J. Box’s Force of Nature. My husband and I have been reading through the Joe Pickett stories for a few years now. When Box was in town a few weeks ago, we were interested to see how nice and calm he was. The body count in his books is high!
Any way, in the first few pages of the book, Box describes the actions of a peregrine falcon, exceeding speeds of 200 miles an hour in its hunting dive before exploding a duck in mid-air. It was one of the those coincidences that continue to fascinate me.
These are the types of experiences I try to infuse into my books. I want my readers to be there with me, see some of the wonders of the world and experience the wisdom that people have to offer–even when they don’t know they’re doing it.
So, get out of Dodge and find a serendipity experience of your own.