The Salmon River runs through my back yard. Yes, there are a lot of  Salmon Rivers throughout our country.  But, the one I am talking about is the one which flows through the second deepest canyon in North Amercia. The one  in Idaho, also refered to as “The River of No Return.” It is a name spawned by the Lewis and Clark days, when the local Indians at North Fork, 150 miles upriver of my home town of Riggins,  warned the exploratory expedition that if they attempted to go down the river, they indeed would No Return.”

Of course, history soon changed that idea, and now  many people  have opportunities to go where Lewis and Clark didn’t.  If only those early travelers knew what they had missed. I’m sure they would be eating their hearts out to learn just how close they were to such a bountiful country, rich in fish runs, wildlife diversity, and exqusite beauty.

Often people have desires to see Europe and other destinations at the far off corners of planet.  Yet, often there is a huge world in a much closer proximity, free for the taking.  I feel lucky to live in a landscape so grand in scale and charm, that it boggles the mind and stretches our understanding of the very concept of magnitude.

Even though I have a zillion strokes of experience boating the Salmon River, and as many footsteps trekking up and down the gorges many side canyons, I have learned that there is no shortage of new things to see.

Einstein is one of my favorite hero’s as I continuously find myself thinking about his theory of relativity.   Each time I step into my “big” back yard, it is like going to Europe. Each side canyon is like a different country. Each new rock spire, or hidden waterfall, is like a new village.  And upon closer scrutiny, all the villages have  their local inhabitants. All the inhabitants represent a small curltural niche, characteristic of their respective villages.  Each culture has their own language, from bird song to wolf howl. Drinking in these various aspects enlarges our communication with our oneness to it all.

We use telescopes for seeing afar, and microscopes for seeing under our noses, and again E = MC2 , as I spot bedded down deer under distant ledges, or a tadpole swimming in a nearby pool.  Thus I continue questioning the world, seeking from the outside to help learn more about what is on my inside. And all I have to do for that, is to step out into my back yard. What is in yours?

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