I'm finished with winter. Like a lover I no longer need, I'm ready for winter to beat it. It persists, though, salt-shaker snow as recently as yesterday. The mountains are clouded over, unreachable. The wind bites through my coat. Like I said, I am finished.
Fortunately, I do not have to stay crushed in winter's icy grip. Here there is a choice: descend to the canyon and I did, to find where summer had gone. It's been around all along, down at the Snake River.
I don't know why the canyon has such a seductive hold on me. By any account, there are only a few weeks when it does not bake in the sun. It is a harsh place, full of rattlesnakes and ticks and waist-high poison ivy. The old sheep trails are being overtaken by non-native blackberry, making passage impossible.
But there's something about the place I like. It knows what toughness is all about. It can keep you on that edge--watching your step on the high rims, searching for hidden seeps in a dry ravine. I kind of miss that razor's edge I grew accustomed to in Alaska. Here it is again. It keeps me on my toes.