Wednesday Betty and I drove from Boise to Moscow, Idaho, and Pullman, Washington, via US Highway 95. Well, not all the way; the first hundred or so miles we journeyed along Idaho Highway 55 through Horseshoe Bend, up the Payette River Canyon into the high long valley that runs through Cascade, Donnelly and McCall, Idaho before dropping down into New Meadows and Highway 95.
Springtime in Idaho is always my favorite time. Often tinted a dead brown, the state comes alive with multi-hued greens and the beginnings of wildflower season show up with yellows and reds and blues. The sky is enigmatic, often the most crystal shades of blue before turning sullen black with wide sprays of moisture falling like opaque shower curtains.
Wednesday was bright and blustery with scattered clouds scudding across the sky from northwest to southeast. In the high country the aspens looked as naked as they do in winter, but the wide variety of willows were an arresting shade of orange; and in the towns, the domestic trees shot shocking hints of chartreuse along the streets.
Cattle grazed on new grass. New grass always has a fresh look about it, as if it were gift-wrapped just to please the viewer. Alongside the cows, young calves romped; some black Angus, some Hereford, a lot of mixed breeds.
In the Salmon River country, the rivers ran manic, bouncing off the sun-swept rocks. The mountains dropped down like they wished to embrace us. Ospreys ruled the skies and made me think of catching salmon.
Above White Bird Hill, the land planed out, somewhat, and the vast fields that rolled away in all directions reminded me of some wild plaid of various shades of green, gold and brown. Strips of conifers grew in the harsh spots.
At Lapwai, an Appaloosa wore a hide that looked as if it had been painted by some master and reached his head over a barbed wire fence in search of tender morsels to chew on. The old sawmills sat vacant, their galvanized roofs undone and banging in the wind.
We wandered past the stinking paper mills at Lewiston, along the Clearwater River where Lewis and Clark wintered with the Nez Perce tribe in 1805 dining on salmon and various meals prepared from the native camas root that grows in the marshy prairies of the inland northwest.
Up another long grade from the river onto the Palouse and the rolling farmland sectioned into fields planted, waiting to be planted, and fallow, all different colors and in the slant of afternoon light seemed electric, as if created by mechanical tool instead of the play of light frequencies on sprouting wheat, newly plowed ground, and harrowed soil.
At Moscow we entered town and turned west towards Pullman and then settled in for the night.
Writing about spring and green and the newness of the season seems trite, hackneyed, clichéd, but we cannot defeat the march of seasons and so why not enjoy them and take their beauty, their hope for our own?