Boise, Bison, and Recuperation.
Monday May 13th had us looking for a home base in a new city. We drove into Boise late last night and crashed at a pricelined hotel after a long drive in from Jackson WY.
We were on the fence about whether to press on to Seattle or to linger in Boise for another day but a quick drive through downtown told us that this city had a lot to offer, and in need of a more relaxing day, we decided to have a rest day here and check out the town.
Instinct lead us away from the downtown area, rife with what I’m sure are perfectly wonderful, if not utilitarian options for a coffee shop hang, and out into a local neighborhood. Instinct proved, in this case, fruitful. We found ourselves in a gorgeous neighborhood passing cute homes and schools reminiscent of Nashville, Los Angeles and a little Minneapolis thrown into the mix. There is a cute town center with some open air restaurants, a few shops and what must be the crown jewel of this neighborhood, Hyde Perk.
Immediately on walking in the atmosphere is disarmingly beautiful, and incredibly tasteful. The warehousey exposed ducts and wiring and a cement floor are complicated by wooden table tops and an incredible wood paneled wall behind the counter The art and decor (little flowers on the tables), and old fashioned circular stools at the window bar make this place feel nostalgic and lived in, as if it’s been here for decades. 3 years old to be exact. The owner, who we realized is ringing us up behind the counter is warm and inviting. She leads with “I don’t think I’ve seen you guys before… are you local?”, the barista nearby looks on warmly. We share a little about where we came from and where we’re heading and find ourselves in a pleasant conversation, with the owner of the place. I can’t emphasize enough how, in a world of increasing syndication and corporate entities striving to appear local and homegrown, it is an absolute delight to find contact with the creator so readily and immediately. This small dose of hospitality set us up for a wonderful lazy afternoon of mild organization and recovery.
The coffee- BOMB. My usual half-caff cappuccino hits me with that toasted woodsy espresso profile that I grew to love when I first started drinking it. Kara’s iced decaf americano is “So good.” She settles into checking some email on her iPad and I snap a few photos with my camera and sit to write. A groovy alt-rock upbeat playlist keeps the mood light and as bright as the sun streaming in through the giant flower-accented windows up front.
For this place, it’s the little details that add to the overall design success. Large link chain strung to the counter near the front windows, the metal siding under the front counter, a funny clock on the wall and coffee bags attached to ceiling all contribute to the creativity stimulating vibe. It’s a fantastic place to zone out and get in a work rhythm, to meet a friend for a catch-up, or sketch (like the girl to our left).
Where I’m at: Currently homeless and jobless. It’s effing fantastic. The buzz of encircled folding in on itself energy that DC funneled me into, a self-actualizing achievement vortex, is starting to release its hold. I’m starting to feel glimpses of that lost feeling that I was after in this five week…not vacation….retreat? That doesn’t feel right either. Sabbatical. I don’t need to make this about “rest is important”. We know that. I’ve found it’s been difficult even though I’ve been unemployed and vagabonding for 3 weeks now, to unwind. I’ve driven 4,000 miles since leaving DC and still don’t feel entirely released from the world I know. This time has been set up in my mind as a giant reset button for..well life. Kara and I are finally together again, and transitioning BACK to being around each other, and we’ve managed to not pay any rent for the time being (starting to make sense how I’m able to be out here as a groupie for five weeks?)
I am lucky. I’m lucky to have traversed this landscape before. It could be that. it’s not my first time out west. But as we drove out of the rockies through to the flats of Idaho yesterday, I did get a wave of that familiar feeling- I’m almost to the west coast.
Impressions- Buffalo are amazing creatures – Bison to be more exact, as we learned in the Union Pacific Train Museum (recommend) in Omaha, that Buffalo and Bison are two separate species and that BISON are the animal that we have here in the US. Side tangent: Also learned that at one time it’s estimated that 6.5 MILLION bison roamed the North American continent (one of the largest herds recorded was ~ 6-800,000) and were hunted nearly to extinction. There was a time when the species was down to nearly 325 left. What percentage is that?! One percent of 6,500,000 is 65,000 alone… so 325/6,500,000 = x/100
x = 32,500/6,500,000 x = .005 % !!!!!!!!!!!
Encountering an American Bison today is to literally encounter a MIRACLE. It’s a miracle that they are still alive. Rather than focusing on the reckless disregard we humans had for their existence, I’ll focus on the incredible efforts of our kind to protect and renew their population. Thank you whoever you nameless people are that saw a problem and impacted our world forever in bringing their numbers back up. Driving across open plains of the country is forever a different experience now, knowing these lands were once ruled by so many bison. No wonder I’ve been struck with an empty sadness from them in the past. They are empty, or rather, emptied.
Kara looked up what Bison mean or represent, a fun task we do from time to time. She found “The American buffalo or bison is a symbol of abundance and manifestation, and the lesson learned by the Lakota that day is that one does not have to struggle to survive if the right action is joined by the right prayer” (https://collegefund.org/native-american-heritage-month/the-meaning-of-the-sacred-white-buffalo/)
What an interesting thing to come across, considering the imprint they had on us, during a time when we are driving across the country with no home, wondering where our careers are going to take shape; what we’re going to do for money. How are we going to marry our separate endeavors and not be pulled into long distance beyond the point of endurence?
Who knows. But I’m encouraged. I’m glad for this time. I’m grateful for the opportunity to abscond into the American west, AND the Pacific Northwest. I’ve got a Canon DSLR at my side for the first time (something I’ve wanted for oh..nearly a decade). I’ve got a wife who – just – is the reason for waking up in the morning. I can’t believe she agreed to CAMP in Yellowstone at 6,500 ft and a low of 19° (we barely slept, it was so cold! But the stars were WORTH it.) I can’t believe she can still stand to be around me after a week in the car together.
Love this coffee shop. I couldn’t recommend it enough. The second cappuccino is just as good as the first.