Visiting Idaho

The Snow Dogs, Finn and I visited our other home in Idaho over the Thanksgiving weekend. We were thrilled to find fresh snow on the ground, enough to make the landscape white and sparkling in the sunshine.

Every day the girls would take me for a walk along the country roads. I found myself as much in awe of the scenery as I was when I first moved there in 2005.

A couple of mornings I took Finn running along these same roads. Because traffic is almost non-existent, I let him run off leash. He quickly learned to surf the snow berms created by the plows, leaping over them to dash through a field, then surfing down them back onto the road. Occasionally he wouldn't see that there was a ditch full of snow between the field and the berm, and misjudging his surf approach, literally disappear into the snow collected in the ditch! Swimming back to the surface, he'd launch over the berm onto the road, shake vigorously, and smile at me as if to say, "Cool! Better than water!"

I think Finn enjoyed running in this snow even more than he enjoys running trails.

I wish the girls were still spry enough to run. They used to enjoy running on snow as much as Finn did this weekend. But they still love going for three or four mile walks. So do I, if it's with them leading the way.

This is an old road just inside the Payette Forest boundary, a road the girls and I walked many, many times while living in Idaho. The snow was too deep to go very far, but the girls enjoyed finding familiar animal smells from footprints in the snow.

It didn't take the dogs long to create a path through the snow within the fenced yard.

The view from the house that I never tire of.
The dogs enjoying rawhide chews on the snow-covered deck, basking in the sunshine. I'm guessing, but the temperature was probably in the teens.

Yet another walk with the girls.

I went to Idaho to reclaim my house there. Since moving back to Seattle in late 2008 - to find work - I've rented the Idaho house to friends. I finally asked them to leave. A friend here in Seattle drove some furniture over for me, including this futon bed. Meadow quickly determined it perfect for dogs.

It was wonderful to be back in Idaho. It has been two years since I moved away. I wasn't sure how I would feel. My neighbors there were happy to see me and the dogs, and one hosted a gathering so that I could see as many people as possible, including some new to the neighborhood since I moved away. I was touched. We seemed to pick up where we left off.

Those who know me here in Washington have heard me complain about the "culture" of Idaho. It is, after all, the reddest state in the union, and I am a bleeding-heart liberal. Newcomers and outsiders aren't quickly accepted. While I still have those general issues, I always valued and enjoyed my neighbors there. Them, I've missed.

Sunshine and snow added to our enjoyment of this all-too-brief visit. I spent much of my time there cleaning the house, setting it up so friends and co-workers - and I - can use it for vacations or writing retreats. The dogs showed their excitement for Idaho as soon as we drove into the valley late Friday night the 26th - getting up in the back of the car, sniffing the Idaho air through a crack in the window, whimpering with excitement.

I think I will have one leg in Idaho and the other in Washington for awhile. I guess I'm a city girl born and raised who is also a little bit country. Who knows what the future holds? It's nice to be able to keep options open, and I'm grateful that I have been able to do so.