Jai Johnson, Art Collections
I once had the pleasure of traveling in the state of Idaho. I took the scenic route (how could any part of Idaho not be a scenic route?). I drove 1,250 miles in three days. From Boise, I drove northeast on the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway through the Sawtooth Mountain wilderness area, then south through Sun Valley, and then west back to Boise. The next day, I traveled north following the Payette River to Coeur d’Alene, then west to Spokane, then south through an area known as the Palouse, then back to Boise. Words such as picturesque and spectacular cannot fully describe the geography I saw.
Deer and coyote caught me by surprise as I rounded the corners of the mountain roads. Magpies, western bluebirds, and hawks perched on fence post on the side of the road. If I had stopped at each awesome site, I would not have covered so many miles. With so much quiet time and so many miles, I wondered about the rich Native American Indian heritage of the area. The Coeur d’Alene Indians have many stories related to their life on the plains and plateaus. Following is the story of Coyote and Moon.
Coyote is originally chosen by the first humans to be the Moon, but they become dissatisfied because he takes advantage of his position in the sky to watch people on earth and divulge their secrets. He is replaced in the sky by Old Man Chief, SpoxanitcElt, who travels about the world inspecting things Coyote has left undone. Coyote becomes angry because Sun has killed some of his children. He cuts out Sun’s heart, and at once the earth becomes completely dark. Coyote attempts to carry Sun’s heart home but the dark keeps falling. Finally he realizes he is getting nowhere. He put Sun’s heart back and light returns to earth. (Gill & Sullivan, 1992, p. 55)
Idaho is truly a beautiful state. I enjoyed my sunrise to sunset drives. Had I known coyote was responsible for lighting my way and illuminating Idaho's beauty, it would have only added to my pleasure.