Get With It, Montana

Dear Editor,

My recent book on the disenfranchisement of transgender immigrants was such a success that I was able to retire from my position in Amherst, Massachusetts as a professor of Genderization Studies and move to Montana. It has been a dream of ours ever since my life partner and I purchased a copy of A River Runs Through It on DVD at the Sierra Club silent auction last year. We found a wonderful 20-acre property in Gallatin Canyon overlooking the river—our own little piece of paradise! After erecting a wooden arch and security gate, we set about clearing away all the unsightly sagebrush and junipers, and began laying sod and planting flowers for our outdoor yoga studio. You can imagine our distress last fall when we were jolted from our morning meditation by the sound of gunshots. We hurried to the basement and made a frantic call to the police, only to learn that hunting is still legal in Montana, and that we were listening to the sounds of elk and deer being shot!

On Gaia’s green Earth, we never suspected such a horrific scene to unfold within sight of our wonderful new home! I had previously been told that hunting was a necessary evil that kept deer and elk from overpopulating, but now that we’ve brought back the wolves, isn't it time to put a stop to all this unnecessary killing? Roaming the woods and shooting harmless animals brings out the worst in people, and putting an end to all that violence would bring back the peace and quiet that we came to Montana to enjoy. It would also make life so much easier for the wolves, who must find the gunshots as frightening as we do.

We are also very concerned with all the fisherpersons lining the river in the summertime. Do they not respect our rights as property owners? We’ve tried to have them forcibly removed, but apparently there’s a “stream access law” or something that allows them to inconvenience us whenever they please—even if that means stepping on the irrigation pipe we installed to water our lawn in July and August. And didn’t I read somewhere that fish feel pain? Shouldn’t the state legislature just ban that barbaric practice altogether?

Don’t get me wrong, we love Montana and our chakras have never been more in balance than when we’re enjoying sitting on our back porch, feeding the birds and enjoying a wonderful vegan meal as the Gallatin River rushes by (except when those beer-drinking kayakers disrupt the beauty of the river and the peaceful silence of the woods). But there are some obvious steps that need to be taken when it comes to respecting the needs of others. Until then, continue the struggle!

Peace, love, hope, and joy,

Terry Levine
Gallatin Canyon, MT