Moscow, Idaho ended up being the perfect size for me to explore on my own. There are many things to love about a college town and this one was filled with many of the best things. Amazing coffee (seriously, there was a noteworthy coffee shop on every downtown corner), a variety of tempting restaurants, an art gallery, a fountain, a park, an amazing bookstore (where I, of course, bought a book I didn't need), and so much more. And all of it could be reached with my own two feet so I parked the car and didn't move it until it was time to go home. I probably walked 6-8 miles each day I was there, wandering back and forth from my single bedroom house to downtown and beyond.
While I missed my husband and Zelda, it was also really nice to have this time on my own. I read, I listened to music, I wrote. In the end, I didn't edit any of my manuscript. Instead, as I was out walking that first night I stumbled upon two characters (who still haven't revealed their names to me). They began to tell me their story and I began to write it down. In the closest thing I've ever done to an outline, I began to write about them. I wrote that night and then all through breakfast the next morning. I took a break in the afternoon and then sitting in the park listening to the local orchestra play songs by Famous Composers, I wrote some more. I couldn't stop. These two just seemed so eager for someone to listen that I found it a challenge to keep up. I still don't know how their story ends, but I'm looking forward to finding out.
So it wasn't exactly the productive end of the vacation that I had planned for myself, but it was something equally wonderful.
On my last morning in Moscow I ran into the owner of the house I was staying in (she lives next door). We were talking and I was telling her about what I'd been up to. She said to me, "Wow, you are really independent. I'm terrified to eat alone in a restaurant!" I told her the trick is in a good book. Her comment lingered with me for the rest of the day. I guess spending a significant portion of my childhood with a single parent, I got more comfortable doing things on my own. I never really stopped to think about how hard it could be for someone else to do something like eat at a nice restaurant on their own or to travel to a new place and explore.
|Palouse Valley. Photo by Mike Brand|