A Black Day for a Black Dog at Idaho’s Malad Gorge
It was a black Labrador retriever and it looked to be sleeping. In the middle of the eastbound bridge on Interstate 84 over Malad Gorge. I saw it Saturday afternoon and the sight still bothers me. I’ve been wondering how he got there. Did he run from an owner in the park? Did he wander from a neighboring home into traffic? I thought he was wearing a red collar. There wasn’t much anyone could do. Traffic was steady and averaging 80-miles-per-hour.
There’s a place at Malad Gorge called the Devil’s Washbowl. Do the names we assign to geographic features sometimes become self-fulfilling?
In college I learned about something called a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you call someone stupid often enough, they’ll sometimes adopt the trait. A lot of people have been harmed by such labels. A few months ago I was talking with a childhood friend. During our conversation he told me his parents had called him an idiot for many years. His mother and father both died over the last five years. I had always believed my buddy came from a loving family. Instead, I now hear bitterness in his voice.
There’s a place at Malad Gorge called the Devil’s Washbowl. Do the names we assign to geographic features sometimes become self-fulfilling? Only a few weeks ago a truck dangled over the bridge at the gorge. Two people and their dogs had to be rescued. The couple lost most of their belongings and their recreational vehicle was damaged. They said afterward they had become homeless. They had been living out of their RV.
Last week a state trooper shared with me it wasn’t the first accident at the bridge. A boy sleeping in the back of a camper was ejected after an accident some years ago. He was tossed into the gorge below. Maybe it’s time we stopped acknowledging the devil.
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