Final Week in Windswept Browning

  • October 31, 2017
  • Posted by Jeronimo Sexton

In our second week of winterizing homes, three crews including Margaret Beck and myself headed east to Browning, the largest town in the Blackfeet Reservation. After skirting around the southern border of Glacier National Park, the mountains gradually receded into the rear view mirror and we found ourselves in a sea of dead grasses stretching out beyond the horizon. Cresting a small hill, Browning finally revealed itself, a cluster of buildings clinging to the windswept prairie. Our first appointment was listed as an apartment complex which Google Maps was apparently unfamiliar with, something we would find to be true of most homes. Google Maps just doesn’t get you far in Browning, a place where street signs are sometimes hard to come by. The most reliable source of directions are the old-fashioned, spoken ones. Rather than plugging in the address and essentially engaging autopilot, finding each home proved to be a small challenge of its own. As we set out for each appointment, uncertainty was always lingering, and there was a sense of accomplishment when we shook hands with the corresponding name on our list. One morning after following the typical set of directions referencing some form of a chevy pickup being out front, we arrived at the house of an elderly woman. She recounted that as a youth growing up in Browning, she cursed the never-ending expanse of grass, vowing to leave and never come back at the first opportunity given. Sure enough, she spent the majority of her adult years living in larger metropolitan areas such as Oakland, Denver, and Missoula. But when city life proved to be too expensive, she returned to the outskirts of Browning, to the childhood home her father had built over half a century earlier. This time around, she’s never felt happier to be home, back among the grasses, with the towering behemoths of the Northern Rockies in the distance. As we finished sealing up a back door and several windows, the time came to head to our next appointment. Before we could muster the courage to ask, she invited us to pay her a visit in the future, when there would be more time to hear stories. I hope to return soon.


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