One of the nice things about having family out of town (not one of which is traveling over the holidays) is that you get to visit places you might not otherwise. For me, this includes Idaho, where my brother-in-law and sister-in-law live. If you’ve never been, it’s a beautiful state.
Wrong picture, sorry.
The above photo was actually taken from my car when I drove through with my sister in 2009. We were on our way to Yellowstone and stopped in Idaho for only two things: Diet Coke, and to take this photo:
I recently got the chance to spend a bit more time there. My SIL’s family has a lovely cabin in McCall, a small town on Payette Lake in the Cuddy Mountains.
While the others skied, I sat in the log home and wrote, read, and took photos from the couch.
(I also utilized this new thing called Facebook, of which I have recently become a member.)
The only knock on Idaho I’ve had recently is that too many Idahoans enjoy shooting wolves. While there, I discovered some restaurants, namely this one,
stuff the wolf and place it over your head while you eat. I didn’t take a photo of it. I thought that might make the owner think it was cooler than it is. So I barely looked at it, in the same manner one ignores behavior one does not want replicated–one’s toddler throwing spaghetti on the floor, for instance.
As we drove back to Boise, the size of the foothills struck me. Ironically, more so than the mountains we’d just been in. Whereas the mountains were covered with pine trees (and, I discovered, when you’re in the middle of mountains, you can’t quite see them), the foothills were mostly bare, so their enormity was more obvious. These round swells pushed up out of the earth all around us as we drove, like the shoulders of giants.
Coming around a curve, I saw one of these giants had a tiny fence snaking along it, probably to keep cattle in. And I thought of the belief, which I first became aware of reading American Indian history, that we cannot own land. It did seem absurd, this little wire fence trying to make such a grand statement, to contain this massive bit of earth far more powerful than it.
I was reminded of a quote by Massasoit. (I should say, I had a vague notion that some American Indian at some point said something beautiful about land. So I Googled “American Indian land quote.”) He said,
“What is this you call property? It cannot be the earth, for the land is our mother, nourishing all her children, beasts, birds, fish and all men. The woods, the streams, everything on it belongs to everybody and is for the use of all. How can one man say it belongs only to him?”
**Note: these photos were taken with my phone from the back seat of a car traveling 55 mph on a winding road in the snow. I do not suggest the technique for aspiring photographers who want to get noticed. Nevertheless, Idaho is beautiful.