I’ve been running around Idaho for the last three years. It is there that I have become the closest version to what I want for myself. Perhaps I am giving it too much credit for my change, but I never could have done this on my own. There is something in those high desert hills and deep rivers that pulls at my bones; some kind of fire in the air that burns the ties which bind.
Jenavieve appreciates a beautiful thing like no one I’ve ever met. She simply sees more than most of us. She came to Idaho because I told her, I have to show you what I’ve found. I think she only half believed me. But still, she came. No one has ever quite been able to capture me like my sister. I needed her to see me there, so I could see me there.
For a week, we climbed in the car every morning and set off in a new random direction. We drove for hours with the windows down and listened Merle Haggard real loud. We grew up singing his songs so it felt like our own little tribute concert. We ventured up into the mountains where the still cold spring air bit at our thighs. We found ourselves in the sand dunes where the hot desert sun burned our toes. We baked in a natural hot springs off the south fork of the Payette River.
Everywhere we went Jenavieve’s reaction remained the same. At every vista, every river mouth, every old motel her words were the same: take off your clothes. I learned a long time ago to never question her when she is shooting. Just do as you’re told and trust and try not to get arrested. She told me later over dinner, just before I took her to the airport, It just makes more sense to be naked here.
Idaho is a place to peel away at your edges; a place to have a conversation with your raw base creature. Go there and stand at the edge of a canyon and slowly undress. Submerge yourself in a hot spring. Drive long and slow across the state. Everything about Idaho surprises. I do not know what I thought I find when I went there, but none of this was it.