Earlier this summer, the kids in one of the creative writing camps I teach through The Cabin Idaho (a Boise-based literary center) came up with an imaginary troll named Evil Knievel that haunts the tiny, hobbit-looking supply closet in one of the classrooms there.
It’s a total hobbit hole, only rectangular.
Naturally, after the kids had invented it, they wanted to feed it.
So they started drawing pictures of food and slipping them under the door for the troll.
I love the arid, mountain landscapes of the West. I love the native wildflower and animal species that live in mountain ecosystems. I love the aridity of the desert. I love its total lack of humidity and 100+ degree heat.
But with the aridity of the western landscape comes fire season with its forest fires and wildfires.
Last summer there were forest fires burning in Idaho and two adjoining states at around the same time. The smoke from all of them was blowing down into Boise. For weeks, the city was ensconced in a hazy layer of burning, lung-clogging smoke.
This is normal.
It’s like that in every state in the West.