August 6, 2015
Papers signed, money spent, and I’m headed to Oregon. At 6:30 a.m. I drive down the lane that leads away from my home in Jerome, Idaho, and try to focus my sleep-blurred eyes. Even though I’ve been awake most of the night waiting for the minutes to pass, I’m sleepy, and reluctant to go. I kiss my husband goodbye and wish that he could come along on this journey. But he has to stay in Idaho to tend the ten acres we call Pauly’s Folly until it sells, and I have to establish our new home in Oregon. This isn’t a new story; many couples commute long distance, but it is a new story for us. In forty-five years of marriage, this is the longest time we will spend apart.
Driving slowly, I attempt to take it all in. Goodbye linden and lilacs. So long walnuts and apples. The squirrels and magpies get to enjoy you this year without interference from me. I let my eyes scan the ten acres. If all goes as planned this is the last time I will drive down this lane.
Once I leave Pauly’s Folly, I pack away my reminiscences and get down to business. I have an 8:40 appointment with the Boise Airport. My son is flying in to help drive the many miles toward my new home.
There is no word for what I’m feeling. Not bittersweet, not lost. Not even afraid. More apprehensive than excited, a little bit void like an abandoned chrysalis. This trip might feel different if I weren’t making it alone, and technically I’m not alone; I have my three rescue dogs riding in the back seat. But they can’t sing to pass the time, and they can’t tell me that I’m doing the right thing, so I flip on a CD and sing as loud as I can with Taylor Swift as I head toward the ocean.
I know the road to the Boise Airport better than I know my own name and with any luck I won’t have to travel across this high desert plain again any time soon. I won’t miss the dusty miles of sagebrush, or the wash-boardy road between Mountain Home and Boise. I won’t miss the semis zooming by, or the giant windmills scarring the landscape. But I might miss the Snake River and Three Island Crossing near Glenns Ferry. And maybe the rock shop my friend had in King Hill where we dreamed of holding writing workshops in one of the rooms upstairs.
My son waves when I pull up to the terminal, and says, “Get over.” I happily relinquish the driver’s seat.
“Ready?” he asks as we leave the terminal and take I-84 to Ontario. We are lucky this morning. Yesterday this highway was closed due to the many wildfires between here and Washington.
“Yup,” I say, as the darkness that has edged my heart lifts a little. Today we will have to take no detours, today is good. Today we fly.
Spring in southern Idaho can be treacherous, or it can be beautiful. Usually the wind blows so hard you think you are in Kansas, but today it is beautiful, so beautiful I wandered down to Shoshone Falls.
Sometimes called the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls is 212 feet high—45 feet higher than Niagara Falls—and flows over a rim 1,000 feet wide. Because water is diverted for irrigation and hydroelectricity, water levels diminish in the summer and fall making spring the best time to view the falls. Here is what it looked like today. As soon as the snow melts in the mountains, the water pouring over the falls will double.
This high desert isn’t always dry and boring. Today it is splendid and boasting of spring.