Montana, USA – We sat at the bar, gathered around a chunk of rock, staring at it closely. He leaned in, his weathered face looking at the rock, then up at us. “Do you see it?” We all looked closer, examining the rock as he moved it back and forth. “Gold”, he said. “That’s how you can tell. Gold doesn’t reflect the light like the other rock around it”. We all nodded, unsure if we actually understood what he was saying, but all agreeing that it did look different. Relaxing in our seats a little, he set the rock down and began to tell us a series of riddles. Every time he finished the riddle, he would look at us, repeating a line or two. I’ve never been very good at riddles, but I surprised myself by getting a few right.
Joshua was a character. Before moving to Montana, he had resided up in Alaska in a cabin he built himself. Living alone in the bush had taken its toll, though. Speaking of his experience up north, he shrunk a little, and his voice softened. He spoke of the loneliness, and how unbearable it became. How it was the reason for his move south. He looked down, fumbling with the rock in between his hands, exhaling with a sigh.