Point of view: Splendid isolation

A Monitor photographer stops to snap a picture in a snowy field.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor

When I was a child, I used to look at the houses we passed in my neighborhood and wonder about the people who lived inside them. This habit has continued throughout my life; and now as I travel all over the world, it has only broadened the possibilities. From a mud hut in Chad to a millionaire's mansion in California, lifestyles vary endlessly.

Recently, I stopped to photograph some horses standing in a field of snow near Nye, Mont. Before I returned to my car, I noticed this vista before me – a ranch, alone in the beautiful Beartooth Mountains. How remote, how quiet it would be living here. It must belong to people who don't mind isolation. Do they notice the beauty all around them? Would they miss it if they left? The road leading here was treacherous in winter – icy in unexpected patches. What if they run out of milk?

We are all born into a country, a family, and a way of life. After that, it is often our choices that lead us to our lifestyle and our home.

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