mountain side. In the distance, Lake Coeur d’Alene sparkles under the summer sun. The white sail of a small boat stands bright against the water. Beyond the lake are more mountains, more trees; more of what keeps me here.
friend’s boat; camping with family. Every place has its own smell, and these scents bring only images of Coeur d’Alene to my mind.
A few wild flowers grow in the shade of a large ponderosa pine among tender blades of fresh grass. Finding a safe plot, so as not to crush the flowers, I lower myself to the grass and recline against the broad trunk. The air is clean up here. I fill my lungs with it, my heart thumps in my chest, sending nature’s medicine throughout my body. I feel lighter, as if the air has washed away a layer of something heavy and unwanted, like shale slipping off a hillside. Slight perspiration dampens my face, my forehead, cooling me in the light breeze flowing up from the valley. The scent of dry needles, wild grass, and warm pine sap carried on the updraft brings images of my youth, the way an old song takes one back to a specific time and place; so many summer days at the beach. Tubbs Hill, where I overcame my fear of heights; trips across the lake in a
White spray rises high into the air, masking the destructive power in its simple beauty. Yet, the caution signs, bent and distorted from years of abuse, seem to hint at the truth; it’s dangerous to get off the path.
Clasping my hands behind my
head, I close my eyes, and listen to nature awhile. Insects, birds, scratching in the undergrowth. I recognize all of these sounds, and am comfortable with them. I drink some water before continuing along the route. I meet three deer on the trail today, and bid a soft “Hello” to each. And each one steps off the path, into the trees only a few yards. I give a short
whistle as I approach and pass—it’s just enough to engage their curiosity, keep them from bolting away. On my descent down ‘A’ to Cave, I’m scolded by a short tempered
squirrel. He’s close. I can see the wind escape his throat as he complains. I’ve not considered it before, but the squirrel is actually barking. This strikes me as funny, and I can’t help but to laugh. “Poor fellow,” I say to the squirrel, who stops barking and looks at me a moment. “No wonder you’re so sensitive. That’s quite an embarrassing bark you’ve got there.” Apparently it’s a touchy subject, for he scurries off through the brush
Summer-Fall 2014.indd 24
5/14/14 9:30 PM
Published on May 25, 2014
Nspire Magazine features recipes from top chefs, takes you on great outdoor adventures, and opens the doors to beautiful homes and architect...