I have the best commute to work of anyone I know. In the morning, the sun hits the Crazy Mountains and bathes the Eastern face in warm yellows and golds. As the evening breezes give up their cool air to the sunshine, I watch as the clouds form over the peaks and highlight what late summer snow may still be visible in the glaciers. Some mornings, Crazy Peak and Granite Peak are covered in marshmallow clouds. On other days the clouds tickle the upper atmosphere and the peaks are outlined by the crisp blue of a clear Montana morning. I never know what I am going to see as I head down the road from my house. But I always know it will be different and spectacular.
The drive home is no slouch either. This time of year the sun is still arcing in the summer sky but beginning to drop behind the range. I always take note of what the afternoon clouds look like because they are my visual weather station for what is to come within the next couple of hours. If the day has been unusually hot I know that thunderheads will bring welcome rain and cooler temperatures. If they are as whispy as gossamer, the cream will start to turn to pale pinks, lavender and purples. As my Monet rainbow dance begins, the light is reflected over the Eastern plains and there is a second show of color. If you didn’t know East from West, you might even think the sun was settling in the wrong direction!
Two things I know for sure. Every day the clouds will offer me a gift that I have never seen before. And each time it will be different. This is Big Sky Country for sure. But it is Big Cloud country too.