This past weekend, one year ago, I drove out to Montana from Portland to attend the 2011 AERO Annual Meeting. The drive felt familiar from ice climbing trips, and the landscaping was just as stunning as I had remembered it from previous trips. If you’ve been following, you know that the trip in 2011 was different, because the only trip back to Portland was to collect my belongings and say goodbye.
This past weekend, I drove a little further east to Lewistown, Montana, to attend the 2012 AERO Annual Meeting. Driving across the beautiful Montana landscape, I remembered AERO being introduced to me as “a tribe”, and the Annual Meeting, our highest council. Our tribe is that of sustainable living, and while we are far between on the vast landscape, our bonds are strong.
I wish I could stick links in the photo captions, but I can’t. Jim Howell from Grasslands LLC and The Savory Institute uses cows to heal land (and feed people). I used to think that sustainable ranching was an oxymoron. Now I think it might be the only thing that could actually fix our North American eco-system.
I love Jeff and Betsy Funk. They might be two of the most influential people I’ve met in Montana. I’ve got to figure out how to spend some time with them without making significant financial contributions to AERO (which I did, again…)
I’m not sure if people expected to see me again, but they welcomed me as if they did. There was a certain sense of pride in connecting with people I had not seen since last year, and sharing that I had indeed found my place in Missoula, in Montana. We shared successes and failures, and hopes and dreams- and more than anything, when this tribe gets together, we have a really, really good time.