Idaho memories

May 22, 2013

Last week, I was back at Cat’s Cradle to hear Josh Ritter again (my fourth time catching him in concert). Ritter is from Moscow, Idaho, and hearing him croon always makes me think back to my childhood in Idaho.

This time, I was remembering the summer I went with my baseball team to Ketchum, where we played in a tournament and slept in our tents in an open field between the mountains and moon. Ketchum is where Ernest Hemingway ended his life. I think I may have known that at the time. I was just 12 years old, and hadn’t yet read any Hemingway, but I knew that I wasn’t going to ever play pro ball so mine would be a writing life. That’s why I can’t remember anything about the tournament that weekend, but I do recall the moonlight that illuminated my tent in that grassy field.

Another Idaho memory came this week. This time, I was up in a tree.

In the grocery store a few days ago, I had picked up half a dozen apricots, and I ate them as they ripened. Each juicy bite had me remembering the apricot tree in front of Lincoln Elementary School in Caldwell, Idaho. I could run over there while my father was playing soccer on the fields across the street, and I’d search the ground for ripe apricots that had just fallen. Some Saturdays, when I’d ridden my bike to the public library nearby, I’d pedal by the school and climb up, reach out, grab a fuzzy orange fruit.

Josh Ritter’s new album, The Beast in its Tracks, is about a broken marriage and a new love. I’ve listened to it over and over and over. It’s good. There’s a song on the album titled A Certain Light, and it brings back those memories of Idaho, of silver moonlight and orange apricots.

Anton Zuiker

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