We went to Idler’s Rest last weekend, much to the kids’ delight. If you live around the Palouse, you know that Idler’s Rest is one of the gems of Latah County–a magnificent cedar grove, lightly and lovingly maintained by the Palouse Land Trust to the benefit of everyone who has ever needed a quick, easy get away from whatever craziness they’ve been living with. Little Sunshine and Tuxedo Boy love to go; they run up and down the trails like little wild beasts, and then settle into highly characteristic enjoyments: Little Sunshine pirouettes along fallen cedars like a tightrope walker, and Tuxedo Boy hunkers down, looking for owl pellets (we’ve never come up empty yet!), interesting bugs, and fungus. I always pack a couple of zip-loc bags so we can take home the pellets for dissection and analysis: generally we score a couple good skulls and then miscellaneous bones for identification–mouse, vole, bird?
Joan and I are more likely to amble a bit, then find a nice fallen log on which to sit and just breathe. The sun sifts down through the cedars and falls in lovely puddles on the ground; Paradise Creek runs brown and clear as tea through the quartz and granite sand. The woodpeckers drum on hollow cedars, and bees buzz by on urgent bee business. There are astonishingly elaborate spiderwebs hung between dead branches, and a fresh scent of cedar everywhere. When we’re there, I wonder why we ever leave.