a lake in northern idaho

It is, undeniably, a land of contrasts, a state that seems to have been parceled from many, wrote the author Vardis Fisher, so diversified in its physical aspects that no one has ever tried to summarize it in one comprehensive formula.

Like so much of the West, it is a romantic's landscape, infused with the power to make us better than we are, with dramatic shifts in altitude and attitude.

fields of grain

Idaho is not a state that can be held together by a few phrases. And yet, if you paint with a large enough brush, you could divide the state up the way the travel brochures do.

For northern Idaho, that might be Legendary Lakes. The True Water World. Connector of Trains.

Further south, Golden Waves of Grain. Land of Lewis & Clark. Seven Devils; and America's Deepest River Gorge.

In central Idaho, the phrases roll off the tongue: America's Alps. Craters of the Moon. River of No Return. Land of Hemingway.

Each region has its catch phrases: City of Trees. Niagara of the West. Land of a Thousand Springs. Home of Sacajawea. Silent City of Rocks. The Caribbean of the West.

As hypnotic and breathtaking as it is from the air, Idaho is best appreciated on the ground, at eye level, where we can touch and taste and feel and smell and hear.

Those who work the land, whom the land feeds, perhaps know it in ways the rest of us can't. But for each of us, there are encounters - moments - that remind us why we have chosen this place on earth to live.

Idaho's landscape is alternately harsh and beautiful, powerful and calming, with a touch of romance, mystery, and myth. Beautiful, bewitching Idaho.

Esto Perpetua. May she live forever.