Old Roads, New Stories: Where the Rockies Were Born by Rob Carney

Where the Rockies Were Born

By Rob Carney

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Old Roads, New Stories: A Literary Series

Take I-90 to St. Regis. Then the road to St. Ignatius. Then north from there, past the church, old and wooden—with a tractor out front, though there wouldn’t be now, and a man up a ladder with a broomstick and roller, stretching up to repaint it, patient, its steeple like a lesson in balance—and that’s how you get to Polson, Montana, this shoreline town at the south end of Flathead Lake. That’s where the Rockies were born: dreamt of, then pulled from that wishing well.

And I was 15. We were off on a school trip. Our high school choir had gone there to join up with theirs, almost a hundred kids singing, maybe more, all at once, all the air turned to harmony, and none of us able to hear our own voices, just us, just all, just the music filling everywhere.

That feeling—speechless—swept me outside afterward, through the side doors and headed for this orchard skirting the lake.

There was a moon, or I couldn’t have seen her: one of the girls from the Polson choir. “Hey,” she shouted, so I turned around, thinking that the orchard was closed, that I shouldn’t be there. Then she took off her heels and caught up and kissed me, like that, like another way of saying while you wait for the words. Or maybe like awe doesn’t need them.

Now that orchard is a golf course. Money always wants a water view. If you’re ever there, putting on third green, that’s where we were.



Rob CarneyRob Carney’s new book The Book of Sharks is available now from Black Lawrence Press. Previous books include 88 Maps, Story Problems, and Weather Report.
Read poetry by Rob Carney appearing in Terrain.org: 6th Annual Contest Finalist, 4th Annual Contest Winner, and Issue 30. And listen to a new radio interview with Rob Carney, and here’s an older radio interview.

Header photo of Flathead Lake in Montana by m01229 from USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.