Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Living The Big Sky Life: “T T” Territory

My first on-the-ground experience with “T T” territory happened long ago, once upon a time, in a state, far, far away - a state that still fancies itself “Big Sky Country”. Tourist propaganda notwithstanding, my quality of life in “the last best place” was the equivalent to hell on Earth with little hope of deliverance no matter how loudly I squealed.

In hindsight, I don’t know that anything could’ve truly prepared me for the small town initiation I would get when I set up shop in the cliquey postcard community I was to call home for the next four years, three months and fourteen days. And the citified and seasoned business sensibilities I brought along as baggage only burdened me with a naïve assumption that doing good business was good business no matter where you were from. Suffice it to say that I have never worked so hard to make a living that barely scraped the poverty line as I did during my tortured tenure in this state of purgatory.

The descriptive captions written on the back of every photograph taken of me during this time read “deer frozen in headlights”. I was convinced that the country gods of big sky country had used my own tube of red lipstick to make a life-size bulls-eye right on top of me, and the look of trapped panic that rarely left my face was testimony.

Sources have told me I’m a survivor, and surviving the harsh elements of "T T" territory demanded that I significantly alter my approach posthaste, which really meant that it was time to put into practice the old adage “Keep it simple, stupid”. So I grudgingly "KISS-ed" them all in the name of survival, and refined the art of doing business on a handshake while shootin’ the breeze with them good ole’ boys of the backwoods smelling of cow chip campfire and dried fish guts while all duded up in cowboy hats and big silver belt buckles, or sporting hunter orange vests stained from buck ‘n duck blood and speckled with goose down particles.

Just because survival made it necessary for me to blend into a world that was far removed from any civilized grid I’d ever known, doesn’t mean for one second that I was inclined to turn all ‘wild west’ or anything. You know, like trade in my little urban-mobile for a Ford pick up with a gun rack. Or replace the business suits and pumps in my closet with bib-overalls and Dingos, or my briefcase for a well stocked tackle box. OK, I admit - I did have to slip into a pair of hip-waders on occasion because frankly, someone had to wade into the creek (alternately pronounced ‘crick’) at the edge of the property to tear down those damn beaver dams that flooded my backyard every run-off season.

View of my backyard
As far as I was concerned, this strange land was a poster child for “T T” territory - raw and uncensored. And while I internally obsessed about escape, I came to understand why many never did.

Part of it was financial, of course, because barely making enough in minimum wage to cover the cost of room and board, boxed wine and beer means there’s not enough left over to lease a U-Haul. I realized, however, that the greatest impediment to escaping for the majority was simply perception – meaning it was less about being so po’r that you can’t afford to buy an extra “O”, and more about what escape really means to you.

The keyword here being ‘motivation’, and it usually begins with the standard line of questioning: ”escape from what? go to where?” If we perceive ourselves as content and congruent with the mentality and ‘quality of life’ around us, then what could possibly need changing? Escapism can be easily achieved in thousands of ways that happen to be a lot less complicated than packing up the shack for no good reason.

Feeling that sense of belonging to a community with those of our own ilk is a natural tendency and can hardly be summarized better than “birds of a feather flock together”. Ultimately I didn’t feel so bad when I recognized that even the migrating flocks of ducks and geese passing through big sky country who were lured in by the ‘quality of life’ struggled to make their escape after landing, especially those peppered with buckshot.

Clearly some never made it out alive.

Living The Big Sky LifeTM 
© by DK King


  1. you said,"Clearly some never made it out." But I urge you to see it that many didn't WANT to leave. I mean, why? Life is good if you are not a women. Or black mexican, or oriental. Or different in any way. You know what we mean. Just different.


Comments? Great! Please say it kindly. Gratitude, DK.