By Robert Lucke
You've heard that old commercial where the lady hollers out, "Where's the beef?" Well, gentle readers, the beautiful Bear Paws are hollering out, "Where's the foliage?"
There just isn't much and more is the pity that there has not been much anywhere in the high country this year.
Why, there is much more beautiful foliage along the Milk River, or in the foothills, or even along the boulevards of Havre than in the mountains.
It looks to us like that snow and freeze a couple of weeks ago froze the leaves on the trees green and at least at our place, those leaves are falling to the ground in the wind as green as they were when they were dangling on tree limbs this summer.
At best, this has been the very worst foliage season for many a year. Things can only get better next year and it sort of seemed like it was a somehow fitting end to this long, long hot and dry summer. It is like the good Lord was not completely through with us yet. A fall without fall colors seemed to be in order.
There was a group of people from the Montana Counties Convention in Havre who went touring through the Bear Paws the week before last and were sort of hoping to see some of that famous Bear Paw foliage.
The bus headed to Chinook, then to the Chief Joseph Battlefield, then to Cleveland, Hungry Hollow, Clear Creek, Beaver Creek and back to Havre late in the afternoon of the tour day.
Hill County residents would have been very proud to have been on that tour bus because, mind you, there were folks from all over Montana on the bus. There was no foliage to see which was disappointing, but what those people did see was so unusual, so pristine, and so grand that they had a hard time not raving about it hour after hour.
So many times we, who live in this great section of Montana, tend to take for granted our beauty because we travel and live with it day after day. Sometimes it takes a bunch of fresh eyes to really point out just how beautiful our land is. And they were not seeing any of it at its best! That tells us even more.
Well, they thought that we all live in a great part of Montana. And almost to a person, it was a part of Montana they had no idea even existed. For many the thought of an evergreen tree growing east of the Rocky Mountain Front is a fairy tale. Imagine their surprise!
Maybe next time when they come, we will have some colors to show them too.
As we write these words, another front has come in and it is snowing gently outside. We knew we would not mind snow this fall after that no-moisture summer and we were right. There is absolutely nothing like moisture, no matter what form it might take!!