|Climbing Up the Pack River|
|View of Harrison Peak From Peace|
|Peace at Night|
|Pools at Peace|
|Moonrise at Peace|
The Peach Man of Wanatchee, WA packed up his canvas tents yesterday, announcing an end to the season. Enough squash bugs to declare war on every surviving summer zucchini plant have instead invaded my south and west-facing windows. No more do we see shiny new trucks pulling summer-homes on wheels or packs of families crowding the white sands of City Beach in Sandpoint.
We can officially pronounce, “Summer over.”
Yet, paperwork clogged in the process or the Internet went down because the weather didn’t receive the memo. The sun rose high and hot. It caught me by surprise, and I must have had that trout-out-of-water look on my face as I sat at my computer sweating, working on projects.
As if desk-sweating wasn’t sticky enough, I tackle my daily goal of 30 minutes perspiring on the treadmill of my dreams. Somehow, I imagined it would be more romantic than this, like the commercials you see of ecstatic athletes running on the foaming beaches of triumph. The only thing foaming is my mind that keeps asking my legs, “Are we there, yet?”
My 30 minute endurance trot is over and I hop off the machine to stretch and yell to Todd, “I’m throwing dinner in the crockpot and we’re going up the Pack River in 15 minutes.”
I need my Peace.
There are directions to Peace. Go south past Elmira Pond three miles to Samuel’s Corners. Put $20 worth of gas in the tank, pick up a 6-pack Mike’s Hard Lemonade (Black Cherry) and turn right out of the station to follow the winding road through the forest. Another three miles north you’ll cross the Pack River in Edna, a remnant of some old fishing town with ancient one-room cabins clustered on the river bank. Follow the river another three miles and when you see Harrison Peak, look for a short turn-around above a flat stretch of river. Back in and park. You have arrived.
My Peace of Idaho gurgles cool water over white rocks. Late in the summer when the Pack River loses her ferocity, the rocks and sand lay bare for 20 feet, bordering pools still deep enough to grow trout. Todd fishes the same three holes on this stretch while the dogs gallop back and forth like horses feeling their oats. I plant myself upon a flat boulder of Peace and watch the water flow by.
To think that this is what lies on the other side of Elmira boggles my senses, as if Narnia is real and Samuel’s Corner the wardrobe. Aslan, are you out there?
Catis flies are hatching and trout are pressing skyward to catch them. A few small fries somersault with silver bellies reflecting like tossed coins. A bigger trout leaps four inches above the water before slicing back into the pool. As darkness thickens, black monarchs seem to be fluttering above the fish circus. Not butterflies, but bats. At least six or seven dart up and down the river, some mere inches from me as I watch.
The dogs come over, breathless from running, eager for head-pats. Grendel cocks his head in that funny way that says instinct is kicking in and he gets “birdie.” Only he’s birdie for bats. With one giant leap he’s in the river, zigzag splashing after a bat. Bobo joins in and they hunt as the half-moon rises through the pine boughs. I can no longer see Todd, but hear him crossing over the rocks. We call in the dogs and leave Peace in darkness.
Driving home we are all silent in the truck. Peace does that to us. Then Todd breaks the silence, reaching for my hand as he drives, as he has done so many times over the years. He asks, “Fix me pancakes in the morning?”
Such a simple requests fulfilled so many times. My Peace of Idaho is complete.