If you were to look in the photo album of my brain under the heading “fall,” this is what you’d find:
This is the side yard next to the old hotel in Hooper, WA. It just needs some pumpkins scattered around the tree trunks to look super harvesty.
Flip through a couple more mental photos and you’d find this:
Those are both overlooking the Snake River. Ok, keep flipping, keep flipping….there…Palouse Falls:
Somehow over the years my brain has begun to equate “Fall” with “Eastern Washington.” Not just Eastern Washington, though, the Palouse region. And not just the Palouse region, Hooper.
It’s probably got something to do with this:
What’s left of the thing that got hunted.
Hunting season kicks off in October and every October several members of my family set up a secondary residence in Hooper, where our cousins live. I don’t hunt, but I also don’t like to miss out on opportunities for family togetherness. Or opportunities to see pretty, ranchy things like this:
There is a surprising lack of fence-posts and barbed wire in my daily teaching life. It’s weird.
Also missing in my daily life–these guys:
Kirstin came to Hooper with me this year and we tried to make friends with these guys. We tried our hardest. There was some small talk involved, we asked about their families, and inquired about their hopes and dreams. We pulled out all our best material, batted eyelashes…no dice.
They rallied their buddies and charged us. See:
We had to run for our lives. I think it was the eyelash-batting that did us in. As a redhead I’ve actually got red eyelashes (that I keep carefully concealed under layers of mascara, for everyone’s safety), and it’s possible that all that blinking and batting stirred up some latent-anti-matador instincts. They couldn’t help it.
Okay, so they didn’t actually charge us, it was a slow saunter. But still, I know I was intimidated.
Either way, those guys are a permanent part of my visual reference for Fall. There’s something about the clear crispness of the air over there and the turning leaves against the warm tan of the dry grasses…it really leaves an impression. Oh, and there’s this one last image:
Big ol’ pile a deer skin. Yep, that’ll stay with ya.