Synaesthesia Magazine Americana - Page 40

Eyesores to avoid when you live in Montana:

1. The sign for Mentzer's Used Cow Lot in Drummond is rusting. Across from the gas station and the hum of I-90, the cows gaze back at the RVs and the sedans and the semis and you filling your car with disinterest, resignation. If there’s a breeze you won’t smell much.

2. In 1995, 342 geese died when they landed in the waters of the Berkeley Pit, gullets corroded with cadmium and arsenic. You know because your high school’s basketball team was playing Butte that fall. You were from the wrong side of the state and some boys came back afterwards blood slicked and vomiting.

3. In 2012, the Dahl Fire burned 34 square miles of interurban land, including 73 houses. Your friend's house was one of three spared. The next day she called to ask why. While you had no answer, you're still glad she called. There was a time when she wouldn't have. When you were fifteen, you fought over a locker and stopped talking for over a decade. Metallic or otherwise, Montana instills an irrational attachment to real estate.

4. The town of Libby hosts two EPA Region 8 Superfund sites. Vermiculite mining and paper companies fouled the air and the trees and the water. Still, the townsfolk refuse to leave. See #3.

5. The Waterhole Saloon in Reedpoint will 86 you for crying, even if it’s over the obituary column of the Billings Gazette and you’re running your fingers over a picture of a not-quite-woman-yet who was once a close friend. You'll be thrown onto a bright, dusty street where the sheep will bleat in amusement or lament. It isn’t easy to tell with sheep.