Winters in Idaho feel like they drag on forever.
It starts getting cold in October and doesn’t usually warm up until March or April (case in point, it was 60 degrees not too long ago, then it snowed the next day). So, when it does start to turn, I get this feeling like I’m just stuck. I don’t feel good. I’m trapped in a wintery fog and I just don’t feel like doing anything. It’s almost like it takes a while to shake off the cobwebs.
During my first year at Boise State, I had one of those days. It was a Sunday during the earliest weeks of springtime. The sound of birds chirping and sunshine poked through the closed blinds of my Chaffee dorm window. And with that (very welcomed) spring sun, I was met with a pair of choices. I could a) sit in bed the rest of the day and revel in the fact everything felt “off” and — although I’d probably feel very rested — be annoyed that I wasted a sunny Sunday. Or b) find something to do.
Thankfully, I made the choice to do something out-of-the-box. On that particular solo Sunday adventure, I learned all that I love about spring time in Boise.
Armed with only my backpack, my bike, and a sense of wonder, I started off down the Greenbelt, toward Friendship Bridge. Then I remember I had missed the most important meal of the day: coffee.
By this time, I was a regular at several coffeehouses across the city (I am, of course, a college student), but I was eager to try someplace new. With Siri’s help, I found some new cafes while biking through Julia Davis Park while the giraffes of Zoo Boise extended their necks over the fencing near the Greenbelt. After making eye-contact with one of my taller neighbors, I found one of the closest and coolest shops I’ve never been to before. Form and Function.
I ordered my typical (boring) coffee (Americano) and a muffin, sat on the second level of the bustling place, and looked around at the open, modern spot that could have fit in perfectly somewhere in downtown Portland or Seattle.
I watched people shuffle in and out. Some prepared to start or wrap up their morning bike rides. Others, I imagined, were preparing for an adventure up in the Sawtooths, or maybe a simple day around Boise. It really sunk in just how unique of a spot Boise is here in the Treasure Valley; especially as the weather gets warmer. We’re easily within a drive’s distance of a thriving downtown urban core, hiking trails, hot springs, outdoor concerts and art festivals, and dozens of local lakes and rivers ripe for swimming, paddle-boarding, or even just hammocking with a good book.
This realization hit me even harder as I strolled along down 8th and Idaho Street. City crews were watering the freshly planted flowers in pots, and restaurants were setting up outdoor furniture for the season. How many restaurants, stores, or coffee shops had I also yet to try? Three years later, I have fortunately found the answer to be a lot.
Under the freshly blooming trees of 13th Street, I made my way through the sidewalk-packed streets of the North End neighborhood to Camel’s Back Park. I had been to the park before, but not since the beginning of winter and I had never explored the vast Ridge to Rivers Trail network that began there. I quickly decided, “today is the day.”
For the next two hours, I explored the intertwining trails and roads that weaved their way through the Boise Foothills. Never had I seen views of the city — my new home — like that before. As I looked down on where my dorm should be, my entire world looked so small and perfectly tucked into the edge of the rolling hills. The Owyhee Mountains sat far in the distance, on the opposite side of the valley; the other side of the mountain range being where I called home for the first nineteen years of my life. And while there were times when I missed home, up and across the mountains in Washington, as I looked down at the small city skyline of Boise, I knew this was exactly where I was supposed to be.
After a while, I stumbled down and back home to campus. I took a much-needed nap and then got some dinner. I walked home along the Greenbelt and saw a phenomena that I hadn’t witnessed since summertime: hammocking. Along the river, colorful hammocks perched the trees near the water. To cap off my out-of-the-box Sunday, I hustled to the other side of campus back to my dorm room and found my own hammock. It sat in a back drawer and I shook off the dust before making my way down to my favorite pair of trees and set up shop.
I swung in the early spring breeze until the blue sky turned orange and pink. And then I thought for a while.Thought about how fortunate I was to live in the place I did. That there was so much left for me to see, do, and explore in my community. And even though it was easy to get into a sort of rut during the cold months of winter, I had successfully made it to the other end.
I thought about how sometimes when you get caught up in work and school, you forget how small everything is in the grand scheme of life. I thought about how I didn’t need to be around people or have a grand plan to feel productive or feel like my day was a good day. I thought about how much I would come to love spring time in Boise and how much good there was to look forward to.
Walking back to my dorm room after hammocking that evening, the windows of all the other halls I passed open with the sounds of music and laughter echoing through the courtyards, I was ecstatic that I willed myself out of bed that morning. I re-fell in love with the school and city that I had first toured a year and a half before. And it made me realize that when things get tough or boring, you have to find the fun and romanticize your daily life. Because as corny as it is, it’s also very true that we’re the main character of the movie called our very own lives.