Pocatello sits in a gash that runs west/east through the eastern part of the southern part of the state of Idaho. Technically a gap, in places around the city of Pocatello the landscape looks like it was hacked out, made into something it wasn’t meant to be. Sourtheast Idaho is not hospitable looking; mostly treeless mountains ring the city of Pocatello in one way or another. The high mountain desert is formidable, stern looking when seen from the lower elevation of Pocatello’s downtown. The scrubby juniper and sage and rabbit brush don’t beckon “welcome”. But the people do.
1999: We’re in the state car driving back from Idaho Falls’ outreach campus to the main campus of Idaho State University. Of the four of us in the car, only two of us know that the driver is in the middle of a nervous breakdown. Terry knows, I know; I’m the driver. The two others, visiting assistant professors we carpool with twice a week, probably just think I’m weird.
There’s a place on I-15 where you crest a hill and see the Portneuf Gap just as you’re coming into Pocatello. And it is there where Terry leans over and whispers “beautiful, isn’t it?” Comic relief at a time when I was afraid to take the responsibility of driving anyone anywhere. When I was coming undone.