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Archive for the ‘Life in the Mountains’ Category

Montana Mist

by Doug Hiser

copyright 2010 by Doug Hiser, ISBN 9781453777695

You can almost taste the wilderness and the life springing from the pages of Doug Hiser’s new novel, Montana Mist. Set in the town of Rime, Montana the pages are replete with loners, free spirits and those simply looking for a place to lose themselves for awhile.

The scenery in Montana Mist vividly springs to life bringing the mountain town and its surroundings into keen view as you peruse the pages of this piece of modern folklore. Hiser brings not only the people of Rime, but also the wild inhabitants of its nearby mountains to boldly dance across the screen of your mind.

What follows is one of my favorite passages from the book, a tall tale that I suppose could have happened somewhere, at sometime but probably takes place only in our fascinated imaginations. It is the tale of a one-eyed wolf appropriately named Cyclops and a huge bull moose which no wolf in his right mind would normally dare to attack alone:

“Suddenly Cyclops darted in and snapped at the moose’s hind leg. The wolf was fast and quick and he had drawn first blood. The moose grunted and bellowed in rage, snot flung from his large nostrils as he twisted in response to the biting pain in his rear leg. Cyclops rushed in again and the moose was slower. The one-eyed wolf bit the moose in the other hind leg. Throughout the entire engagement Cyclops had been silent but the moose groaned and grunted and snorted in anger. The moose’s shoulders quivered and his mouth opened and closed as oxygen was sucked in. Cyclops had one more trick to play against the big Bull Moose. This is the part where I wish you could have been there…that one-eyed wolf ran around the staggered moose and got behind him again. Cyclops was too quick for that big engine of power. The moose was caught off guard as the one-eyed wolf leapt high and far from behind. That wolf jumped on the moose’s back.”

Jury held up his hands, “Now remember this is a wolf that can climb trees. He jumped on the moose’s back, not like some cougar, but like some weird rodeo cowboy wolf. I heard a tale from Connecticut Sam, an old friend of mine from South Carolina, about a raccoon that rode on a dog’s back like a cowboy. Well this wolf did the same thing, rode on the moose’s back. At first the moose just stood still, breathing hard and tossing his antlers back and forth. Finally realizing there was a wolf sitting on his back the moose started to jump and run. I saw that crazy one-eyed wolf straddling that wild moose and clinging with all four paws and biting a clump of thick hair on the moose’s neck. Cyclops didn’t try to attack the moose. He was just trying to stay on for the ride. That moose jumped and ran all over that clearing trying to dislodge Cyclops. That was the strangest thing you ever saw, a crazy one-eyed wolf riding on a bucking moose.”

Hiser knows how to tell a story and he uses masterful prose to bring his work to life for you to enjoy. I highly recommend Montana Mist, reading it will leave an indelible impression on you.

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Fall is beginning to settle into my beloved mountains. The trees are beginning to show the first changes in color with the yellows being the first to show. It will be a little over a month before we hit “peak” leaf season, bringing thousands of visitors to my hometown nestled between the Blue Ridge and the Great Smoky Mountains. Still, Labor Day has passed and it is as though someone has thrown a magical switch. The days, while still warm, no longer hit the nineties that marked the summer days of a few weeks ago. The threshing machines are in the fields and the days, and nights grow cooler.

Except for the numerous tourists fall is my favorite time of year. I love the early morning crispness in the air. Mornings with my cup of coffee are almost sacred times. The fog has yet to burn off the mountains and lays softly within the valleys and peace reigns supreme in the strength of the mountains that are ancient beyond memory.

There is nothing better this time of year than putting a throw over my lap in the evening and curling up with a good book; a habit we all know I love anyway. My dogs love the fall too. They seem to fill with energy during the shorter days and longer nights. You would think spring would be their favorite time of year, but here, in the South they take their cues from their owners. We know spring means the heat of summer is just around the corner, and while summer brings its own beauty of blooming trees and flowers, it lacks the majesty of fall’s beautiful colors.

My youngest son, Paul, was the child who most enjoyed the fall colors with me and the huge vistas that would meet our eyes as we rose out of a valley, onto a mountain peak only to see ranges and ranges of color spread before us. He remarked once it was like God’s coloring box and the image of the Eternal with a huge box of crayons, childish as it may seem, has stayed with me ever since. As I look upon those precious scenes, G-d never feels closer.

So fall is slowly descending on my mountains. Winter cover will be planted soon. The leaves will change and fall. The smell of wood smoke from numerous fireplaces will fill the night air and eventually the frosts will come, but with fall comes the promise of a new year, a new spring, and new life. I love fall, for itself and for all the promises it holds beneath its layers of leaves and frost.

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