By Cameron Lord explorebigsky.com columnist

I’ve only lived in Big Sky for a couple
of months, so I never suspected
I might already be spoiled. We seem
to be adaptive creatures, however,
and for me, it took traveling to the
other side of the country to truly
appreciate what I already have right
here at home.
Last weekend, I flew to Washington,
D.C. to visit old friends and
check out the Virgin Mobile FreeFest
music festival. I was excited
to catch up with everyone, enjoy
some new bands, and people-watch
urban dwellers, for a change. The
trip delivered on all of these points
in spades, but I had to wait until
returning to Montana to experience
the greatest benefit of all.
My flight arrived in Bozeman
around 11 p.m. I walked wearily
out of the airport and tracked down
my car in the dry, moonlit night.
My body told me it was 1 a.m. Eastern
time, well past my bedtime, and
I wasn’t looking forward to the long
drive home to Big Sky. However,
as I cruised past Four Corners, my
perspective started to change.
As I drove through the canyon, the
mountains seemed to glow in the dark.
Under the full moon, my surroundings
revealed a new identity I’d never
seen before. I consumed the landscape
in a new light, until the headlights of
an oncoming truck reminded me that I
did, in fact, have to focus on driving.
The truck passed, and I returned to my
solitary commute. As I rounded the
next bend in the road, I looked over to
see the Gallatin River’s rapids exploding
bright white. The turbulent water
captured the full moon’s rays, refracting
light in every direction. I’d never seen
anything like it, and I was suddenly
grateful for the midnight drive.
With the Gallatin entertaining my
periphery, I reflected on how fortunate
I am to live here. It occurred to me that
I’d already started taking for granted
my spectacular surroundings and the
endless array of outdoor activities at my
disposal.
A shift in perspective often reveals a
new side of the same thing. Having
seen Big Sky from a different vantage
point, I find myself more appreciative
of my surroundings and eager to enjoy
the fall while I still can. With winter
knocking on the door, it’s time to go
outside.