All hills these White Clouds, Boulders, Bigwoods, Sawtooths, all sunny-snowy, with a tug of war between all tourists, townies, and all trout. An outdoor-obsessed Ketchum, a humble Hailey, an ahead of its time Sun Valley club—delighting all since the 1930s. “Rodge” at the Lodge telling of golden eagle vs. bald eagle turf wars and the simple snow goose evading both sets of talons. Arlee at Chapter One reading through her gap year. The Gray boys regaling Papa’s rule of one bullet for kids on the hunt; makes for a good shot and/or easy math. Browns and rainbows nipping at makeshift midges with Ewald Grabher here for twenty years after Austria for the elk hooves and riverside moose juice galore, for the stripping, mending, and all of the grabbing. Montrose with Michel at Christiana’s as a silver dollar moon sidles and shines above, at high peak attention, hovering the tiny town in full dollar, all purple mountain majesty, of such tawny-gold brawny-yellow shadowy-splendor.
The Community Library since 1955—a veritable Goldmine—with Martha, Jenny, Will (the Duke), Mary, and young Lichtenberg purveying knowledge, preserving time-gaps. And Johnny G’s, love shack baby, sub shack at high noon. Roundhouse fondue on the Bald(y) the next day. My 14-year-old daughter Audri driving the pass from Galena into Stapleton underage but only especially after nosediving and face planting her unintended off-trax fresh powder, last-day run. My son Max and his magpie diet: Mac’n’cheese at Pio, slices at Wiseguy, wings a la Rickshaw!
As for me, I came and worked and wrote and ate and drank as The Community Library’s Hemingway writer-in-residence. Penned some haiku, edited my monograph on modern education for McGraw Hill, scaffolded and scribbled ideas for the next tome too. But mostly absorbed the Idaho way and lavished in relished time away from Miami, time away from Massachusetts, time with my kid’s eyebrow furrowing into adulthood.
The Hemingway property transported me in ineffable ways where the pine-tree surroundings and bare white birches moved me to an almost elevated punch-drunk state—indeed if bananas in Panama, the impetus to the first chairlift on the planet built here in Ketchum—which is with far more than potatoes and all the pioneer old school waggoneers about town are my pathway to shrikes becoming locomotives for tomorrow. Bye for now S.V., as my return is a thousand miles away, a million eye blinks until we ski again, and yet, really and nary a dry tie away. All purple. All blue-sky, with Em’s plum (pants) drum (wine) chum (company) from The Covey, ever the magpie...though always a swan pond song outside for ever after, everlasting, for evermore: the aplomb farewell sun.
Michael D. Wilson was The Community Library’s latest writer-in-residence at the Ernest and Mary Hemingway House in Ketchum. He teaches at the University of Miami.