Bare feets. Long, dusty walks to the ice cream store. Swimming in irrigation canals. Bing cherries. Almost black, sweet bombs of summer pleasure.
We've hit 92 degrees. The rivers have opened up for rafting and tubing. The first corn on the cob has been served. The daffies have faded, but the roses are so thick on the bushes, they define extravagance.
Summer. Now are the days you want to take long drive in the country. Haggerman Valley in the south-central part of the state. Endless water falls. Fishing boats. Irrigated crops. Outcropping of granite and sagebrush. A swimming pool with its neighboring alligators. Wine that is hauntingly delicate. Might be sweet. Might be ethereal. Might be earthy too. Pelican nests on the Snake River. You can find the best hamburgers in the world out there.
To the north, McCall. One of the most traveled roads in the state. Graceful arching bridges. Long-slow flat rivers, fed by the most riotous white water in the Western United States. Basalt and granite canyons. Banks, the river-stop restaurant, at least 5 decades in business. Emerald hay fields, cattle ranches, small, white churches. Cascade, where the rivers feed the village and you can fish downtown.
Southwestern Idaho, miles of cheat grass prairies, volcanic boulders in the middle of grain fields, mysterious mountains that can totally disappear on cloudy days, purple mountains on clear days, the sweetness of wide-open spaces, communities that host dances as long as the hooch stays in the pickup, wild, tangled gardens with radishes, baby lettuces, sweet corn and tomatoes the size of dinner plates, so densely sweet, they make an Italian mama cry in gratitude.
I swam in irrigation canals when I was a child. Probably should stick with pools now. One a cow tried to jump the wide, shallow canal on my Uncle Happy's place. Lit in the middle. There was something to see. Our parents were careful with the polio vaccines.
Waste from the fields. Rain water. You know what kind of fertilizer was available in those days. You wouldn't think that a proper place to allow children to paddle in. Sure it was polluted. But everything was a natural mess, even if it was a mess. Here's the thing—we have the strongest immune systems imaginable. Rarely have colds and flu. We were exposed to a lot. We survived even more.