Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hello April

It's nice to see you again this year, you radical old month. The Utah powder hasn't stopped yet but is no longer light and fine in texture; it sinks into the melting phase with decreasing delay. The creeks have started thumping with the rush of the daily melt, my hands are tan from hanging out the sleeves of my instructor jacket, arms still white.

April used to be depressing in high school, as the ski season would wrap up and I would have to focus back in on school to salvage my grades from absentee days. You know how some people say "I'd rather be skiing?" I took it seriously. Medical notes, activity absences for ski team, whatever I could manage. I swear my best memories of high school are of avoiding it for something better - a day skiing, lunch with my grandparents.

April doesn't depress me anymore, now that I'm a daggum "grown up." It's become the segue between my long-term winter love for skiing, and my recently acquired taste for wild summer flings with whitewater, mountains and rock faces. It's the bring-it-on month. Out with the old for now, the new comes parading in, life is gorgeous.

Random subject change: I'm in a wedding party in 16 days. I spent five hours addressing invites to the shower and bachelorette party. Some people have printers for this sort of thing... I kick it old school with a fine point Sharpie. Getting high, JH style. ;)

Speaking of kickin it old school, I caught sight of my old (read: 35mm) Pentax sitting lonely and cold in my closet the other day. I missed it fiercely, and will be going out for a photo op once I've skied myself silly in the powder that is falling on the Wasatch right this minute. I can hear the rain drumming on the slanted 'beach' house roof, and were it not for the cloud cover, the full moon would be illuminating the peaks which are undoubtedly being blanketed in thick, heavy snow of spring.

I love this state, I really do. It's incredible. I see something literally breathtaking, every day.

I still can't wait to get back to Idaho though, my soul craves the mountains and rivers there with distinct intensity. And the people... can't say it enough. I need the simplicity of good Idaho folk. If you don't know what this means, you probably never will.

I met the author of this book in my childhood, when my mother bought a condo in the north end of Boise. His daughter and her mother lived down the street, and we became fast friends - my first 'real' job ever, at 15, was nannying for them. They're wonderful people, I could dedicate a whole blog post in this sitting alone to what I have learned from and admired about them.

About the book though, Idaho Loners. I didn't actually read it until 2006 when I took off in the spring to become a river guide for the summer.

My first stop was at the base of the Tetons, to get my Wilderness First Responder certification from the Wilderness Medicine Institure, hosted by NOLS Teton Valley. Long story short, I spent 9 days at the base of the Tetons in and around a building that was once an old LDS church, sold and remodeled as the base camp for NOLS courses. The building was awesome, and even featured a whole room of bulk food - perfect for gearing up, great classroom, bunk beds, and a very nice updated bathroom. Taped on the back of one of the doors was a segment of Idaho Loners, about Jenny and Leigh Lakes and their namesake, Richard Leigh, aka "Beaver Dick."

The bathroom reader was interesting enough to fuel further reading at my second stop that spring, the family cabin, which is nestled appropriately in the heartland of Idaho. The cabin has a library host to a blessed specimen of mountain literature - Idaho Loners was right at home between some Vardis Fisher and Pat McManus gems.

I found something in those pages I identify with in ways I cannot explain. When I envision this summer, it's Idaho. It's the Salmon river, my grandparents, the cabin library, true love for life and swimming, literally, in my own transcendentalist experiences. Add a little bit of Moab to that and I am set.

And, I'm still going to wake up and ski a foot of powder. Oh yeyaaa. I love you, April.



Becky said...

When you say the "simplicity" of Idahoans, I'm sure you mean the way we are uncomplicated rather than the complexity of our thought...right?

JH said...

Something like that ;)