“I like your life here Skander.”
“Yeah, me too.”
Margaret and I were driving back from a perfect day of rock climbing in Mill Creek, and her observation, like her visit, helped flush away some of the chaos that I’ve been keeping at bay lately. How do you describe a weekend that encompasses every conversation, every part of yourself, all of your past, all of your future? Well, it was Friday noon through Tuesday morning, but everything is a lot.
Margaret and I met at Northwestern while working to push sustainability into the engineering school agenda. Her intelligence, tenacity, and unlimited joy were obvious from the start, but I never suspected how our friendship would grow. After Northwestern, Margaret moved to Alaska and my subsequent expeditions were always bookended with homemade bread, midnight sunsets, and time with her and her amazing boyfriend in their cabin in Palmer. We share common dreams for sustainable business, social services, and food systems. We pursue common goals for introspection, self-enrichment, and service to others. She was the last of my summer visitors this year, and early October celebrated her visit with clear skies and perfect temperatures to enjoy the best of Missoula.
First Friday, climbing at Mill Creek, hiking on Mt. Jumbo, visits with farmers, were a perfect introduction to Missoula, but under all of it, the real highlight was in the conversation that never seemed to stop. Margaret doesn’t mince words, pull punches, or let questions go unasked- and neither do I. More than anything else, our friendship is rooted in a clear deep openness, and we didn’t waste the short time we had together. The questions she is able to ask helped me verbalize some emotions that I haven’t been able to express, and to admit some feelings that I haven’t been able to face. Some visitors I’ve had have made me wonder why I’m making life happen here, but showing Margaret around Missoula made me realize how well this place fits my life- or perhaps, how well my life fits my life, here.
Well said, Skander. And a good evocation of what Missoula means to those of us who’ve fallen for her charms.