Fading Days

I got out of Boise this week, out of the heat, the traffic, the smoke, and it felt good. I like the feel of fall, and donning a sweatshirt and blue jeans reminded me that fall was in the air. I spent a few days in the in the mountains and saw stars and constellations, which evoked memories of S’mores and other delicious sweets that I forbid myself to eat these days. I had worked as a lifeguard at a church camp in the Sawtooth Mountains for a couple years in the 60s and this trip was a throwback to simpler times and a simpler lifestyle.

The drive was spectacular: deer, birds, chipmunks all out to say hello and show their stuff. The deer, feeling no fear of being shot, were everywhere, flaunting their presence as they will until deer hunting season when they will disappear. The birds were out in full force, twittering and chirping and occasionally dive-bombing me to remind me that I was the interloper, not them. Chipmunks, well, they don’t cause anything bad, apart from threatening me with hantavirus, but they are little, and I ignored their threats.

I was not in a hurry, and sauntered along at or near the speed limit, taking care not to risk life and limb, slowing down on the winding roads. I don’t have any identifying logos on my car, but people seemed to know me. Many people passed me, and somehow, they knew I was in the Marine Corps, as the throngs of people who passed me saluted me time and again, albeit with one finger, instead of the standard Marine Corps full-hand salute.

The smoke came and went, gray skies were followed by blue skies, then the gray again. I relaxed with a glass of wine as I watched nightly sunsets colored pink, yellow, and violet expand and fade and wondered at how and why I was so fortunate to see them.

Photographs and paintings can’t capture the beauty, peace, or grace of mountain sunsets and I marveled at their magnificence. The air felt crisp and clean, although I am sure that smoke interfered with its absolute purity, but when I inhaled the air, it smelled and tasted fine.

All in all, it was a great little trip, time to enjoy life and recall its beauty. I was hungry for the mountains, skies, and tranquility and I’m ignoring all the one-finger salutes.

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