They are the minions of the Sarnonian, Darth Vadian, and Voldemortian absolute worst agency in our state—those who do the dirty work for the ID(I)OT Machine. I usually include that middle “I” when describing this arrogant and seemingly all-powerful government agency—the Idaho Department of Transportation. I rarely know, and am always in disbelief, when they strike—usually it’s too late to stop them. The damage has been or is the act of being done.
Yesterday I experienced the Machine’s latest path of destruction along Highway 200 driving east from the Pack River Delta, past Trestle Creek and traditional Kalispel aboriginal fishing, hunting and gathering camps along the Road to the Buffalo, towards Hope to join a friend for dinner. For 36 years and with tremendous gratitude and aesthetic enjoyment, I have driven along that distinctive and beautiful stretch of highway with its rocky outcrops, towering Ponderosa pines and old growth cedars, and its hundreds of native serviceberry, syringa (our state flower!) and ocean spray shrubs, both beautiful to look at in spring, and so important to our native songbirds and other wildlife as essential food and habitat. I once lived at the foot of Eagen Mountain along this formerly scenic stretch of highway.
Last year the Machine massacred the flora and trees along the lakeside. Never in my darkest mind did I imagine that next they would annihilate the mountainside. They took an abundance of life for many species, and beauty for all to see, and wasted it into death and ugliness. Why?
Maybe it’s because they want a more visible and faster highway for the big-wheelers that have increased in number and speed traveling along Highway 200, and more Megaloads like last summer. Maybe it’s AVISTA’s fault to ease expansion of their power lines. Or maybe it was just to prevent one more automobile from flipping over because it was speeding. Now you can soar through this stretch of highway driving over the speed limit without even braking once.
I keep praying that someday we’ll seek higher moral values. Until then, the loss only reveals the violent muscle the white man continues to flex in ignorance when it comes to everything alive and beautiful in nature.