Author Archives: Barbara Morgan

About Barbara Morgan

Barbara Morgan is a baby-boomer native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin who moved to Idaho in 1993 with her family, husband Kurt Martyn and children Charlie and Annie. She is a neurologist, and has been an independent practitioner for most of her career. Barbara is also a Feldenkrais practitioner who loves to help people learn to move more easily—making the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant.

Body Lessons

Relaxing on the couch after work, studying the Idaho Statesman, you hear an annoying rattling, but there’s no one else in the room. You put the paper down and look around. The sound is gone. A month later, you pick up your toothbrush and your right arm doesn’t move fast. You check your biceps in the mirror and see the same reassuring bulge on both sides. Everything is fine again until a hovering office colleague asks why you’re mad. You tell her you’re perfectly fine with her, but she won’t leave it alone. She says she can see it in your face. And furthermore, you don’t swing your right arm when you walk, so you must have had a stroke. You want to tell her off but instead go out of your way to smile. And swing your right arm.

You worry from time to time. Could you be taking stress to bed with you? Your wife says you yell in your sleep. You see the doctor who does a complete history and physical and gets a CT scan. He finds nothing unusual but fixates on your infrequent bowel movements.

“Get more rest,” he says. “And don’t forget to exercise.” Continue reading

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A Place of Wind and Magic

I wasn’t born in Idaho. But I’m writing a love letter to the Palouse.

Where you’re born is a matter of chance. You are shuffled by your cards. Your gene tumbler is shaken up. Probability does its dance and out you roll, pink and blinking, onto the table. From then on it’s your life. Maybe you stay in your neighborhood, maybe you go somewhere else.

I could have stayed where I was born, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. But during my middle years I chose to move West. By then I had become a neurologist, another story, not the subject of this epistle.

The origin of the word “Palouse” is enshrouded in mystery. It’s a Native American word, it’s a French word. It means “green, grassy sward.” Add your own story of origin.

When I came to visit in April 1993 and drove from Lewiston to Moscow, what I saw was a plush carpet of emerald hills rolling on forever and forever. And no mosquitoes. There was an opportunity to move to the Idaho Palouse and I took it. By June, I was walking up and down Main Street in Moscow with my office manager, Gail, looking for a neurology office to rent. We found one with a window overlooking a small tree, the Gritman Hospital parking lot, and Highway 95. And on the southern horizon I could make out Paradise Ridge.

My timing was off. The town shrinks when the students leave for the summer. There weren’t enough patients to keep the lights on at Palouse Clearwater Neurology the first summer.

So I began my Idaho hiking career on Paradise Ridge. For the next twenty years, I’d start my hike at a secret location off Iverson’s Loop. I’d stump through the woods, climbing up and up. Five separate climbs up, then the ridge. It was a riot of native flowers in the spring and of thimbleberries in the summer. Towhees calling but seldom seen. Western fly catchers. Red-tailed hawks until winter, then Rough-Legged, white against white on the snowy ridge. Deer and moose and coyotes. Scat everywhere on the snow. Turkey tracks on the very top of the ridge when the snow turned into mud in March. Continue reading

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