70 Days, 7000 Miles, Day 21

July 15, 2001


I’m set up in The Cottonwood Campsite in Fort Smith, Montana where the US Post Office is in the laundromat.  You can fold your clothes and look at the wanted posters at the same time. And, when everything is finally all neat in your basket, you can buy some stamps and send a postcard.

Ugh! Men at the campsite!!  Get out of my face! Telling me I won’t be able to catch any fish unless I hire a guide! I was advised to pay  $200 a day  for one because I’m just wasting my time!

Am I bitter? Yes! Men fish for power, to unearth the secrets of the universe and conquer and overcome the wild beasts. I am very ticked off at these fishermen with their condescending, long winded B.S. The have been fishing all their lives while I have only known the sport sporadically. It frustrates me because I can sense the ways of river and the outdoors. I have a memory of it all from women ancestors long ago, an  instinct for it in my soul. Unfortunately, it is buried under years of domestic conditioning and  gender specific rules.

I want to fish even though I rarely catch anything.  I think it’s because there is a longing in me. A longing to be outdoors, to connect with nature, to understand the nature of nature, and to be a part of it rather than just an observer.

A guide is “someone with sufficient knowledge or understanding of a place (territory) or situation to assist another with the greatest efficiency in the least amount of time.” A fishing guide has years of hands-on experience. People who have more money than time pay for that knowledge. America is the nation of the quick fix. Unfortunately,  I have the time but not the money.  I guess I just need to practice more.


Rhonda, the manager of the campgrounds, stopped by my site. I told her about all the fishing advice I received today and about my aversion to being lectured.  In my long 23 year marriage, I was belittled all the time and I still bristle when I’m put down.  I offer Rhonda wine in my new plastic camping wine glasses. We sit at my picnic table and she explained how important fishing is to these men and that they just want to help.  They take pride in their skill, she says, and in no way are trying to make me feel bad. She has come to know a lot of them and  likes them.  She is right,  I’m too quick to judge.  Maybe my divorce is still too fresh.

I wish Rhonda a good night. The coyotes howl in the Montana darkness.  I have gained so much this day, saved by a chance conversation over a glass of wine with a kind stranger. Ebbs and flow manifest themselves again.  A bad day turns into a darn good day with Rhonda’s  gift of compassionate insight. The balance is restored and the beauty enhanced by contrasts is once more renewed.

3 thoughts on “70 Days, 7000 Miles, Day 21

  1. Tawnya Richelieu

    Through you and very few others both my daughters have received a quality education. I thank the heavens above they both had you for a teacher. You were/are such an inspiration!!! I love your blog ! You’re writing is truly inspirational!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Autonomous Traveler

      Thank you so, so much! I am so proud of our girls. I’ve been blessed in my life! Thank you for your continued support. It means the world to me.


  2. Yes, I understand your feelings… sometimes the only thing we want to do is to share a moment or entertain a conversation… Then somehow it turns out to be a course on how to do better, an hour lecture on how we should have done better and or a complete of how it used to be better in the past and so on… Now, I am very careful of what I say with certain people… when I need to vent or simply share a moment I don’t need a lecture. Fortunately for you, there was an understanding angel 😇 to sooth your emotions that day. Thank goodness for forfuitous angels. Back from my NewFoundland Trip with a million pictures & souvenir… we’ll on our next encounter.


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