Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Blue Skies, nothin' but blue skies do I see

It seems like they keep changing the first day of spring. Sometimes people say it's March 20, sometimes, March 21. Well, as far as I'm concerned it's always been March 21, and if today is any indication of a first day of spring, I'll take it. As the sun rose over the Cabinets, a temporary layer of hot pink covered the back side of Schweitzer, which we view out our west windows.

Any morning that we can see those ski runs is a good morning because that means they're not socked in by dreary, rain-filled clouds. Today's spring christening lacks the hint of any cloud in the vast blue sky.

My horses must know it's spring cuz this morning they didn't stand at the doors to their stalls contemplating their next move for ten minutes. Their reluctance of late to stick that first toe out into the cold water still standing along the side of the barn has reminded me of many times I've stood in Lake Pend Oreille holding my hands upward and hesitating to take the full dip into the cool water.

Like a good refreshing swim that follows that initial full submersion, there's a carrot out there in the barn pasture, and the horses know it. Finally, they take the plunge and head for their morning hay piles. This morning they jumped right out their doors, taking no time to look first leap later. They'll take this spring day too.

It's a good day for all students and educational staff in our school district because the levy passed by a resounding vote yesterday. That means no staff layoffs and no cessation of programs within the district. Plus, they can pay the bills for maintenance, a few new buses, etc.
I've heard lots of good vibes coming from throughout the school district this past year, so I'm not surprised that the levy passed.

I have good memories of other positives from yesterday. I attended the Selle Extension Club meeting at Toni Britton's beautiful home just a mile or so away. The Brittons have the most beautiful view out their series of windows. I told Toni it was better than television to sit in one of their overstuffed chairs and just look out onto their pond where a pair of Canadian geese have set up shop for the upcoming kiddies.

Besides some good visiting with those attending, including a revelation from Carol Mundell that their place once served as home to the Humbird Lumber Co. horse stable, we enjoyed a slide show by Jim Payne who last fall took a mostly solo trip down the Mississippi River from Vicksburg to New Orleans----in his kayak. He had a few hair-raising adventures along the way, and he found out the true meaning of solitude while paddling for hours and days without talking to anybody.

He eventually met up with another kayaker who had put in on the Yellowstone River in Montana and paddled his way down the Mississippi. The two chummed up and enjoyed the rest of their trip from Baton Rouge to New Orleans where the Montanan had a mother and sister waiting for him.

I often wish I had the courage to go do something like that all by myself, but I'm the world's biggest chicken when it comes to being in the wilds or the center of civilized culture all by myself. Both extremes scare me, and I don't know what one does to overcome such fears. Seems like we're pretty stifled from all the potential that exists out there in this great big world. I always appreciate reading and hearing from the folks who have no fear.

Another bright spot in the day occurred at Northside School when Mother and I voted. I walked her down the hallway where two teachers invited us into their classroom. It was there that I learned about and saw the works of the Clark family. I'm afraid I don't have their complete names except for Mary Pandrea, but from what I've learned, they're a mother-daughter pair who write and illustrate books about the Upper Pack River area where their family has lived for years.

Their work is exquisite, both the stories and the illustrations. Their plan is to put out a series of children's books written from the perspective of the various little critters who roam the land around their family dwellings. I saw a map of the Pack River Valley detailing where all the Clark family lived and saw samples of the first two books. These women have something very special, and as Karen Remmetter suggested, the idea could be replicated in all the little nooks and crannies around our county.

I've heard they're taking their show to Farmin-Stidwell Elementary this Friday, so maybe I'll find out more and pass along more information. Both my mother (the artist) and I (the writer) agree that their work needs to be seen and appreciated by more folks.

Well, as readers can tell it's definitely a zippidy doo dah day here in North Idaho, and I don't want to waste it. So, I'll head out there to those horse apples and then try to do a little more spring yard work at the Lovestead.

Happy Spring to all.


Big Piney Woods Cats said...

Great to see you yesterday! Your cookies are a real hit here, in the Big Piney Woods.

Happy Spring!!!


Betsy said...

I'd love to see a photo of your view of Schweitzer. It was nice to meet you at Yoke's! -Betsy

papaterri said...

Mary Pandrea is my aunt. Mary and my 94 year old grandmother still live in Pack River (warm months only). Currently they stay in my Aunt Jean's cabin (built in 1887) - not far from where Buck & Edna's used to be. Mary and another aunt, Kari, still own the family farm - it's right across the river from Buck & Edna's. Every summer, Mary's son, John, works on the old log house where the kids grew up. Hopefully, it will soon be ready for Mary and grandma to move into. The books you are talking about were written by Mary and illustrated by yet another aunt, Grace. There are 8 Clark children: Jean, Nellie, Grace, Ethel, Mary, Kari, Wilma and last but not least, the only boy, Harold William. I can get you in touch with Mary if you're interested. My name is Terri Lynn (email:

Anonymous said...

The Clark Family of Pack River now has its own web site. Check it out at