WASHINGTON -- Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is really happy about retiring from the Senate. So happy, in fact, that he's turning to poetry to explain the deep calling he felt to step down.
"It whispered to me among the elk resting in a meadow east of the Bridger Mountains," Baucus wrote in a Great Falls Tribune op-ed published late Thursday.
"I heard it as thousands of snow geese flew over the Rocky Mountain Front."
"The pull came up from my soul like the ducks that rose in clouds from the winter wheat fields of Teton County at dusk."
Baucus, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has long had a penchant for literary or historical references. Just this week, his opening remarks in a hearing on trade policy included an anecdote about Thomas Jefferson's purchase of Louisiana, and he began another hearing on the foster care system with a quote by Winston Churchill about the "virtues of human society."
A Baucus spokesperson later told The Huffington Post the senator has always appreciated literature, in part because his mother was an author and a patron of the arts.
"As many folks know from Max’s tradition of beginning speeches with quotes, he has a love for literature and history and always tries to paint a picture with words –- which comes through most clearly when he's describing how he feels at home in Montana," said the spokeswoman.
Baucus announced Tuesday that he will step down in 2014, bringing an end to his 35 years in the Senate. His decision elicited cheers from progressive groups, who have criticized him for his history of voting with corporate interests. Baucus said he made the decision after conversations with his wife and his family.
"I will serve out my term, and then it will be time to go home to Montana," he said.
This article was updated with a comment from a spokeswoman for Baucus.