Today I turn my tired eyes westward toward Idaho, where next week I'll present a paper at the biennial conference of ASLE (the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment). I've never been to Idaho but wow, does it look great online. Mountains! Waterfalls! Lakes! Rivers! Buttes! We have many lovely land formations in Ohio but we suffer from an unfortunate dearth of buttes.
And then there is the conference itself. This will be my third ASLE conference and I've enjoyed every one, from the engaging panels to the networking opportunities to the many people passionate about literature and nature. It was at an ASLE conference that I first encountered Joni Tevis and bought her first book, The Wet Collection, which was the start of a rewarding relationship; next week I'll ask her to sign her new book, The World Is On Fire, which is also terrific.
ASLE lacks the intensity and pretense of a big conference like MLA; no one is interviewing for jobs or trying to impress anyone, so the atmosphere tends to be relaxed. I won't even pack a power suit. Instead, I'll take lots of hiking clothes and hope to get out into the wild a few times.
That was my morning project: finding locations I'd like to visit within an hour's drive of Moscow, Idaho. I'm staying in the dorm on the cheap so I can afford to splurge on a rental car, and I'm accepting suggestions for terrific things to see. I don't know Idaho, but I like what little I can see from this distance.