Haven’t written much lately. Been traveling all over the Northwest this summer, working when I have to (which isn’t much in the summer time), and packing, then unpacking from trips. Went to Montana for a long weekend of bike riding while John played mechanic. Took Jasper to OR for summer OSU registration and visiting of family and old friends. The Middle Fork, a few days on the Salmon with Emerald, and then a few more days on the Salmon with John and a portion of my tribe. Emerald took her own Lower Gorge trip with our boats and her new trailer hitch, and I had friends from my Glacier Park Maid stint and Tahoe years visiting for a few days. Rendezvous in the Park came and went, I’ve picked up my CSA and visited the PCEI LaFortune Groover most weeks. Out to lunch with my mom, dinner with Jasper when we are both here. Then there are the raspberries to pick, pesto making to schedule, the grass keeps growing and the dishwasher decides to clog. There hasn’t been much time to write…..and I love it.
I fell in love this summer, with Idaho. I love her undammed rivers. I love the mountain bike and running trails on Moscow Mountain. I love her uncrowded campgrounds, and her poor abused second-growth forest. I love her clear water, the snow that will fall in the winter, and the fenceless fields of grain on the Palouse. I love my early morning running partners and the crazy Masters swim team. Oregon is beautiful, too. Jasper and I took the long way home and marveled at pines and sage brush sharing the same hillside. Montana is majestic, her peaks still holding snow in late summer. But, I am in love with Idaho. Idaho holds my heart. It holds people who are near and dear to me. My mom is here, friends of over 20 years are here, the community of Moscow is here. And Idaho holds my history.
We came to Moscow, ID in 1990. Jim had a half time job offer, and I could get a job anywhere. Did not think we would stay. Skiing was too far, there wasn’t much mountain biking, and where was the free-flowing water? I got pregnant with Emerald within 2 days of the health insurance going into effect. I got offered a local half time contract in the schools when we were looking for one full-time job. Seemed like a good idea to stay, and when Jim bought a lifetime family membership to the food coop…I knew it was time to put down some roots. We got used to driving to ski, Jim helped build what is now over 50 miles of mountain bike trail on Moscow mountain, and the kids went on their first of multiple annual river trips when Jasper was 4 and Emerald was 7. I dove into my work, my family, and my community. We got the mortgage, station wagon, dogs, and life insurance, and house. We donated time, energy and money on a local basis. I met people through mutual kid activities, through work, through volunteering and shared outdoor passions. Moscow became home….and home is where the heart is.
After Jim died, I wanted to be anyone other than me, and anywhere other than here. Every river, rock, and tree held a memory of shared history, and sadness was always just there below the surface. Visiting old haunts and seeing familiar people was physically painful. I vowed to stay, and remain open to the pain….because I knew it would also allow in the love and the joy. It has been almost 3 years since Jim was diagnosed with brain cancer, and while there were many sad times, love and joy has won out. This summer’s rivers, this summer’s travels, this summer’s people, are now part of MY history. I fell in love with Idaho this summer.
Emerald lives in Montana now, and Jasper is headed to Oregon in September. I am thrilled that I will get to see more of my OR family in the next few years. I will head the other direction to visit my daughter, and that special boy who owns a bike shop in Missoula. I’m headed to Wisconsin for a glimpse into John’s and my very old history in 10 days. I will leave Idaho, I will put many more miles on my car. They will also leave their homes and have a nest to come to. I cannot relocate. Moscow, ID holds my heart, it is my home, and my history…..and it also holds the best raspberry patch in the Inland Northwest.