appointed places set in motion like seasons. We are like salmon
swimming against the mutation of current to find
our heartbroken way home again, weight of red eggs and need.
— Gloria Bird, (Spokane), from “Images of Salmon and You”
I grew up on the Pacific. 21 years ago I moved to Idaho. I thought I’d work and live to a riper age here than it appears I will. We’re moving closer to the salt, lucky to have found work, but leaving the easy access to chukar we’ve enjoyed for so long. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad to imagine next opening day far away from the high desert. It’s been the best part of each year for more than two decades now. I won’t get nearly the same number of days in the field bitching about medusahead, seeking jouissance through the sight of a pointing Brittany’s ears barely visible above the bunchgrass just below the ridgeline. Inflections or innuendos? There are lots of ways to look at this. Most of them are good.
So we have to move, sell the house and shop we’ve caressed and the soil we’ve cursed while praying for sprouts (let me know if you’re interested!). Never in my wildest dreams, before I moved to Idaho, did I think I’d live on 5 acres with a view of 5 mountain ranges, where I could hit a 4-iron across my property, or where we could let our dogs run around and eat all the horsepoop they could and not worry they’d get flattened by a Hummer. We’ll miss the nearby Weiser River Trail where our dogs’ pads get an almost year-round, traffic-free conditioning, complete with quail and grouse and turkeys (and the occasional bear, mink, and otter). The brewery will get packed up, too, and I’ll miss that until we can — at some unknown point — take it out of storage.
Chukar Culture will continue. I keep thinking of Frank Zappa’s gem, “Jazz isn’t dead, it just smells funny.” I don’t know how that connects, but it does. Maybe it means what I want to post here will smell funny for those who’ve enjoyed (or tolerated) our weird diet of chukar-scented prose. Fishy, maybe? Leslie hopes to head east with the dogs often to look for birds (hopefully not in the same way seen in Guterson’s East of the Mountains). And we’ll have the new pup, Bloom, to work into the mix, which is very exciting and promises to provide some interesting narratives.
In the meantime, we pack and strategize and plan and hope and argue and make up and hike and walk and run and fret and eat and drink and look for places to live up there (there aren’t many, sort of like here). Just so you know.