These Thousand Hills

I'm a city boy. I grew up in the suburbs surrounded by hills and forests. My formative years were spent close to both the ocean and the mountains.

Prairies befuddle me. Flatlands depress me. I'm lost with out trees and large bodies of water.

I guess that's one of the reasons I never felt entirely comfortable in Boise. While it is close to mountains, the Treasure Valley is primarily situated on a featureless plane. It's too flat. And too dry. And brown.

In no conceivable context could I be described as a country boy. I thrive in chaos. I long for crowds and noise and bright lights. Punk rock & hip-hop and anything that defies the backwoods hillbilly.

I love road trips, but I always loathed driving certain stretches of northwest freeways. Eastern Montana, Northeastern Oregon, Southern Idaho, most of Wyoming.... rolling hills, big skies, and dry yellow grasses. Those vast expanses appear to be infinite and makes the cityscapes I love feel so distant.

Maybe I've been looking at that countryside from the wrong perspective.

This weekend, while driving back and forth between Moscow and Pullman, I noticed the same endless rolling hills that dominate most of the Inland Empire. Yet, I saw something different... and alluring. Those rolling hills with the patterned stripes of agriculture gained a hypnotizing quality I've never before acknowledged. For the first time in my life I'd admit these hills were stunning and amazing to see. It was indeed the amber waves worthy of our patriotic songs.

Maybe I'm getting softer now that I've passed 30. Maybe I'm beginning to see beauty in unusual places. I still prefer the city life - even if it is suburban living. But I may have gained a new appreciation for our area's rural scenery.

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