Our first episode looks at the ways that weather is depicted in Ivan Doig’s novel English Creek. We visit some of the locations that Doig wrote about and talk with local residents about how seasonal change has affected their own lives. Stops along the way include the hay fields of Dupuyer and a classic 4th of July rodeo. Keep an eye out for grizzly bears.
We interview Montana State University cultural geographer William Wyckoff about the importance of weather to Ivan Doig's literature. The episode also includes a recollection (and music) from 93-year-old White Sulphur Springs resident Julia Short.
When it comes to extreme cold, Montana residents have some bragging rights. On January 20, 1954 at Rogers Pass, the temperature stood at 70 degrees below zero. The coldest it has ever been measured in the lower 48 states. So cold that the trees began to explode. We look at why this happens in Montana and how this was depicted in Ivan Doig's novel Bucking the Sun.
William Glasser was 18 years old in the winter of 1948 when he volunteered to help a local rancher feed his cattle. He may not have known that 1948 would bring one of the fiercest winters in state history. His visit to feed the cows turned into a long and lonely stay in a tiny cabin he would call home for more than a month.
The area along Montana's Rocky Mountain Front is known for its relentless wind, including a phenomenon known as a "Chinook," or "snow eater." We interview a meteorologist to help us understand what causes a Chinook and hear why Ivan Doig referred to Chinooks as "the wind from Eden.”
We interview Ivan Doig’s cousin Gordon Doig about the influence of weather on Montana ranching life. He talks about the importance of a good horse during a blizzard and recounts the ways that ranchers of Ivan Doig’s era dealt with outdoor life before the conveniences of modern weather forecasting.
Immerse yourself in the sound of prairie wind as heard in 'Doig Country' east of Dupuyer. This is an ambient recording of the wind sweeping along the Rocky Mountain Front. (See Episode 5 for more information about the prevalence of wind in this part of Central Montana.) The recording was made by Jeff Rice for the Acoustic Atlas at Montana State University.
This track features a mix of recordings from locations that often appeared in Ivan Doig's writings. The episode (there is no narration) begins with the sound of Dupuyer Creek, the real-life inspiration for Doig's fictional English Creek. Other recordings capture sounds from nearby Choteau and White Sulphur Springs. These sounds feature birds, frogs, and weather such as rain, wind and thunder. Eventually the podcast's soundscape moves from Montana to Washington where Doig lived and wrote for most of his adult life (listen for the sound of the waves along Dungeness Spit). The soundscape then returns to the Montana Prairie. All the recordings are available on the Acoustic Atlas at acousticatlas.org.