Monday, December 24, 2007

On the Mountain

Aside from wanting a nice big yard for Duncan to play in, I often find myself wishing we had a mountain as well. Such a small thing to ask, but I've been a good boy this year and maybe Santa will find a way to come through. Keep your fingers crossed!
In addition to his love of snow, sunny days, a breeze in his face and a nice fat squirrel to chase up a tree, Duncan loves mountains. Not that we're lacking for those in Colorado, but we do lack one in our backyard, such as the one my mother has. When we're home he loves tromping up the hill and following the deer and rabbit tracks down one gully, up another, moving steadily through the juniper to the clearing where we can look down on the southern-most part of Pocatello. The valley comes to a point here, where all the roads and railroad tracks come together to push through the tight little Portneuf Gap and on into Inkom. We can see Johnny Creek and Mink Creek and at night each of those homes are lit up bright with red and green lights, their trees decked out with electrical snowflakes, and, interestingly enough, quite a few have entire branches wrapped in red, others in white and still more in blue. It's a very patriotic Christmas here in Pocatello, but I'm sure Santa has secured the proper permits from Homeland Security and will have little problem getting through customs.

Duncan loves his mountain and I love watching him love it. Almost every year we find an antler of some sort, which he carries proudly in his mouth, its many points rising like a crown before him. I have a whole collection of the things which we've carted back to Denver from Idaho. Sometimes if they're too good I have to hide them from mom, who likes to keep them for her backyard patio.

He's a handsome thing in the mountains, and aware of everything around him, even as he stands in awe of it. A galloping deer is something to be marvelled at. A sprinkle of snow dropping from a juniper bough brings on untold fascination. This is a place he loves mightily. I'm happy I can share it with him. Before Duncan I never walked the hill in winter, but now it's one of the things I most look forward to. He's taught me to find the beauty in the yellow and seemingly barren brown landscape I once shunned. Now I see juniper dotting the hillsides as something glorious. The sage, enormous and still subtle in its beauty, is fragrant and has the most delicate green leaves. Even the cactus bring me joy. I've had a strange relationship with Idaho, as I think many of us have with the places where we grew up, but I've found a whole new appreciation of it through the heart and eyes of my dog. Were there more opportunity for Ken and me here, I sometimes think it would be nice to make it our home, to give Duncan all the land he needed to run on.

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