From a family of writers / by Christina Rosalie

You know how it is when you get an email from someone and it’s so good you can’t bear to just click ‘save’? I got one like that from my older sister last night, and I have to share. She’s a sales rep for the uber-cool new woman-specific clothing company Lole (“Live Outloud Every Day), and she’s traveling through a whole bunch of Western states showing their new fall line. 9 days on the road. Dear Family,

Miles and miles under the belt, streaming across the lands of the Nez Perce. Cheyenne and Shoshone, the engine laboring under the cruise control as rolling hill and pass grind under the tires. It's amazing and not surprising that they call this the land of the big sky. It's breathtakingly beautiful. I can imagine those native faces crossing the waist high grass on horse back, moving swiftly and efficiently from summer to winter camps, leaving nothing in their passing but the slight traces of a camp fire pit. It's amazing what we've done to this country, and by we I mean us white folks. The mine tailing piles high, filling entire valleys in some places; toxic streams trickle from the fetid flanks and poison entire communities. It's so hard to take, this mix of breathtaking beauty and life-taking toxicity, Montana yet another state of juxtaposition, the awe-inspiring amazing with the equally deadly amazing.

I passed a forest fire today. Burning bright against the hills, smoke searing lungs of all in range no matter the air setting on the car air conditioner, fire fighters huddled against the shade of a helicopter watching the flames move ever closer no matter the effort of the air tanker above. This land is so wild it steals your heart; just like that kitten found behind a dumpster so weak and starving you have no choice but to take it in.

I am exhausted today. The odometer measures nearly 1500 miles so far. Tomorrow I drive north to Flathead Lake and Kalispell. To the cool of the mountains, a welcome break from the heat of the valleys, I will turn and twist, following the flanks of the hills and peaks that make this part of the world so famous. I have had only about four hours I can call my own so far this trip. I am a maniac for stretching my personal limits of endurance. Let's see, Kalispell is three hours drive from Missoula that means I can show three accounts, tour the town, stop at the local dive for lunch and then race for the hills, arriving in a blur to do it all over again. But something about this job inspires me to be my best and that is all I can ask of a job.

I miss my husband I miss my animals and most of all I miss the green, color so achingly hummingly green it hurts my teeth to look at. Out here, it's all brown: beautiful but brown indeed, interspersed with irrigated farms….

Good, huh? So are their clothes. I’m in love with several hoodies, and some of their pants make you look like you have the perfect ass, regardless of your actual ass. Check ‘em out.