Friday, June 11, 2010

Coeur d'Alene

Rain soaks our days old clothing. We smell of campfire, sweat, jerky, and the open road. We walk down railroad tracks that never were. A rushing river guides us to our destination, one of the many abandoned buildings that line the roads leading west.

At these moments, I feel detached from everything. There is no right or wrong. There is only adventure, a faint carousel echoing with faint prompting from the hills. I carefully map out the placement of my soggy steps so as to avoid the patchwork of wildflowers.

We get back on the road after 2 hours of unplanned, unmapped mystery. My camera is held tightly in my hand, the treasures we encountered held captive within.

We move on to the Idaho panhandle. Golden hour turns into hours as we chase the sun down through twisting canyon roads pointed West. We turn a bend past a ridge and see an indescribable portrait of beauty. The lake sitting next to Coeur d'Alene reflects a bright orange sunset, the waters more far reaching than the sky itself. The surrounding hills glow a deep blue haze against a tranquil night sky, We are only given a glimpse, but for a fleeting moment we all fall silent, our eyes unwavering, our breathing steadied. My hands are stuck to the wheel.

I'm convinced I must live in a place with mountains in my horizon. I need those harrowing towers off in the distance. My eyes never grow tired of tracing their silhouetted outline against the sky.
These thoughts are interrupted as I find myself watching a group of college kids clamoring up the pier steps overlooking the Lake Coeur d'Alene. The one leading the pack is stripping down to his boxers. They climb to the top level and begin to egg him on. I can see his feet hanging over the side shaking profusely. I don't think he realizes what he's gotten himself in to. A small crowd of fans assembling near the bottom.
"Come on Wesley!" one shouts impatiently.

Two others jump into loud roars of laughter and cheering as the freezing swimmer makes his way back to the dock.

Wesley's shaking feet are still hanging over. The crowd grows disenchanted with the dare and Wesley's hesitance becomes more apparent to those still faithful fans.
Some begin to coach him as the others begin side conversations.
Alex and Logan have walked on and Nate is waiting for me. I'm transfixed on his shaking feet and silent answers to the jeers.
We walk away slowly and suddenly I hear a splash followed by cheers.
I'm not sure if it was Wesley but I'd like to think that it was.
The moon is reflected off the calm waters and Coure d'Alene is just starting to fall asleep. But the young vagabonds that hold dominion over the city by night are coming alive.

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