I still remember my mom trying to explain about The Man. I was very young, not yet in school, and at the age where I thought the sun rose and set on my parents. They were the source of all wisdom.
I tried hard to understand my Mom’s enthusiasm and awe, but could only grasp that The Man was very special and I was to always look for him. She would bend down to my level and explain how to find him. I remember once, not wanting to disappoint her, nodding in agreement until she smiled and stood back up.
Then one day I understood. I saw him.
I knew immediately he was the one she’d been talking about. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
I felt the mystic and wonder of it all with an immediate heart connection. Mom was right! It was The Man I’d been looking for.
As I grew, he was always on my mind. When I went to softball practice or to swim at Memorial Park I would sneak glimpses of him. If I walked up Lamborn Avenue to buy candy at Terry’s Convenient Store or go to Ray Bjorke Elementary School I could stare at him unhindered. Especially when I hiked up Mount Helena. I would sit on rocks covered with orange lichen and marvel and dream.
I could stare at him for hours.
I could feel his presence.
And I never lost the wonder of it all.
After all, he was there every day of my life. Always there. I was ready for him to awaken and make my dreams come true, because he made fairy tales seem believable.
Now in my adulthood, he’s still The Man of my dreams. He is my childhood love and my familiar friend. He is the symbol of beauty, Creation, and imagination.
I’ve introduced him to all my children and someday hope to introduce him to my grandchildren.
I will lean down to their level, whisper the secret of the Helena valley, and introduce them to
The Man of my Childhood Dreams.
This is the view from the small mountain in front of Mount Helena, or the H Mountain.
You can either sit on an outcropping of rocks or a park bench.
When we were teens you could drive your truck up to this spot.
Or so my friends told me.
Now, they’ve fenced it up.
If you take I-15N out of Helena and head to Great Falls,
you’ll feel like you’re driving in his wilderness bedroom.
You might worry about what to do in case he wakes up.
That would be some serious morning breath to fight.
The haze of forest fires always changes the mountain view. This is from August 2006.
Was there a nostalgic geological phenomenon in your childhood? Or was there some special place you traveled to that still gives you that magical feel of childhood?