Prologue This week was, as my former mother-in-law would have said, challenging. Being able to return to the memories and photos and Kalispell Adventure inspirations is healing after a week on “the front line.” So now, step back in time with me to Tuesday, July 1 at —
2pm Thai Restaurant, Main Street, Kalispell
Being outdoors and active all day is a glorious thing. You come to meals with a true appetite and to bed with no question of a good night’s sleep. One thing I never had to learn to love about farm life.
Kalispell seems like an odd place to look for Asian food, but Thomas and I both like Thai and decided to risk the culinary oasis on Main Street. One thing I hadn’t expected was truly hot weather and apparently, the restaurant hadn’t either. The air conditioning wasn’t on and as we looked at the menu, we wondered if staying wouldn’t be a mistake. But the waitress was interesting and funny. She truly seemed to like people and engaged in conversation reflecting that. Once the food appeared, all doubt vanished. The presentation was delightful. Apparently, the owner’s wife collects different kinds of Asian influenced porcelain. Meals come on different kind of dishes. My pad Thai came in a beautiful blue and white boat. Thomas’ came on a lovely apple green oval platter with pressed swirls in the surface. Sorry now that I didn’t take pictures, but it was all about the food. Thomas had a teriyaki curry dish that was outstanding and I predictably chose my favorite, Thai noodles with chicken. The portions were large but we finished it all and rolled out the door. I took note of the Kalispell Brewery across the street and then took Thomas back to his hotel.
For me, one of the quintessential beauties of a trip is being immersed in another culture, other preferences, norms, and ways of looking at life, food, the world, and music. Though my musical home is jazz, my tastes and appreciation of music are very eclectic. As I headed into big sky country on the way out, I listened to Aaron Copeland. The further I drove west, the more I craved Allison Kraus and selected her station in Pandora. By the time I headed back I had fallen in love with Nickel Creek’s rendition of “Flow Gently Sweet Afton,” a song I learned a 4-H camp a lifetime ago and touched by the poignant mandolin in “The Hand Song.” Equally smitten with the Wailin’ Jennys’ “One Voice,” I downloaded full electronic versions of Nickel Creek’s self-titled album and Wailin’ Jenny’s “40 Days.” Great folk and bluegrass—and not my regular fare, but perfect and a wonderful expansion of my library. As on so many trips in the past, the music I encounter traveling helps me return to that place when my travels are over. As I write, I listen. They say scent is the sense most closely tied to memory. For me, I see a stronger connection to sound—music.
The day’s activities had tired me in a good way. My head was full of vivid images and the heat of the day made me crave a beer. I headed to the Kalispell Brewery for a frosty tap and some blogging. I had no trouble slipping into a flow state writing about my adventures on the way out. Soon it was 8pm and closing time. As luck would have it, Thomas was done for the night as well. My brewery waittress pointed me in the direction of a very night restaurant with excellent burgers. Thomas had elk and I had the bleu cheese special. Ah, burgers. I eat very little red meat, but when I have a craving — nothing seems to quench it like a good burger.
I embarked on this trip with no great hopes or expectations about evening entertainment. Like coming home after a good movie, I likewise had no desire to corrupt the beauty of the day with perversions of commercial television. In my trip planning, I had accordingly packed DVD episodes of Craft in America and a biography of Japanese-American sculptor, Isamu Noguchi. After leaving Thomas for the day, I showered off the dirt and tired and slipped into bed to watch artisans create amazing functional art in American forges. I listened to my travel music, looked at photos and exercised abstract artistic impressions in watercolor. Then fell to sleep fully satisfied and complete. With visions of art I will make in the future and the comforting knowledge that I would spend another full day surrounded by beauty to cradle my soul and rejuvenate my mind.