Friday, August 30, 2013



Do you remember this?

I didn’t say it then, but that particular day, something changed. February 25, 2012, next to a gurgling little waterfall amid the roar of the Klickitat River, I became Sam’s girlfriend. And eighteen months and one day later (Sam is ever the sentimentalist!), we went back.


August 26, 2013, next to a waterfall that runs dry this time of year and a Klickitat River flowing lazily with the dwindling mountain snowmelt and rains, something else changed.


I became Sam’s wife-to-be.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

the racer



I’d never seen a racer snake before, until Ewok dragged it up to our garden yesterday. Snakes fascinate me . . . which is probably a bit unhealthy, considering:

The Lord God said to the serpent,

Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life;
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

Genesis 3:14-15

Sunday, August 18, 2013

a sunday morning walk



“Isn’t it funny that the mountain is really a solid thing, and you can’t get it out of the ground?” she asks solemnly, studying the familiar white-and-blue pattern of the peak on the northwest horizon. “And when you get up close, those blue spots are really rocks and the white spots are snow.” I ask her what the mountain would be if it weren’t solid, and she says, “I don’t know, maybe a cloud. Do you think it looks different on the other side?”

We talk about the mountain for awhile. We talk about math and spelling and how Amy hates math, but “can read pretty much every word in the whole word.” She points out coyote scat on the roadside and reminisces about the time she saw one in the field—not a very big one, maybe a baby, but there was no mommy with it. She wants to know how a wolf and a coyote are different, and if wolves have to be shot in the heart to die the way bears do? What is it about the heart that makes things die if it stops working? And then I try to explain the biology.

The sun is a warm butter-yellow in the chill of an August morning. Amy was sure to grab her fleece jacket, pink leopard-print hat, and blue mittens just in case our late summer day suddenly ushered in a snow flurry. When we turn back down the driveway homeward, she takes off on her bike, leaving me to muse over our conversation. I had meant to spend this walk preparing my mind and heart to worship the Lord at church later, but perhaps a talk with my eight-year-old sister was exactly what I needed—a moment to marvel anew at the Creation of God: the immovable mountain and the different species of predators and the complexity of scientific law in our bodies, not to mention the inquisitive and sponge-like minds He put in little people like Amy.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

only the beginning of the adventure



I sit on the back deck with a pile of fresh-picked corn cocooned in green sheaths next to me. Slowly, methodically, I pull back leaf by pale green leaf, exposing the silky yellow hairs beneath. The kernels are the color of midsummer sunshine and smell like August, and the scent rubs off on my fingertips in the form of a subtly sticky milk.

The western wind picks up a stray corn husk playfully. I look up and watch the gust ripple across the hayfield, with blue and gray September riding on its back. Mt. Adams hunches worriedly on the horizon, as if braced for the coming snows; yet the sunflowers bob unabashed by the threat of frost, and the goldfinches hang like droplets of sunshine on a blue chicory-blossom sky.

Today, I left. Today was my last breath of the unique summer-autumn transition in Goldendale. I left a world of unpredictable blue and gold brushstrokes for the level green horizon and aquamarine skies of Floridaone year ago today.

And tomorrow, I pick up the season where I left off.

I could almost believe that the year in between never happened, that tomorrow is just another day that I’ll get to spend drinking up late-summer sunshine and breathing in the nut-brown scent of a newly shorn wheatfield. I could almost believe it… except that I am not the same person I was a year ago. Except that I have been through too many hurts for there not to be scars—some on my body, others on my heart. Except that I am, as unbelievable as it seems, even more blessed today than I ever was before.

When I reflect on all this, there is no room for discontentment. I am assured that God has done right. I am left without doubt that He has not lost interest in or power over my life. His love will not let me go.

This is only the beginning of the adventure.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

we can’t go back

“I learnt something when I went back to Helston—expecting it to be the paradise I knew as a child. That, try as we might—happy as we were—we can’t go back.”
- Margaret Hale, North and South

Leaving the East Coast three weeks ago was hard. I think I’m only now beginning to feel the actual impact, to let myself think about where I am and what I left behind.

The long, empty days of loneliness that I dreaded before I came home are real now. They are my life. The awful sense of hanging in limbo, not knowing which direction to move, or if even to move at all—the strange sort of letdown that happens when suddenly you are removed from the kind of environment that made you believe you had a role in furthering the Kingdom of God. I call it 1 Kings 19 syndrome.

It’s time to rest. It’s time to wait patiently for the redirection of the Lord. It’s time to mourn what has ended so I can look toward what is beginning. Part of me wants to go back—back for a day to my dorm in Florida, or to my cabin in Pennsylvania—but I know that it wouldn’t be the same, and it’s time to accept the memories for what they are. Memories. Fleeting moments and sensations from a time that is not now, a time that I knew would pass too quickly and did my best to love while I was immersed in it.

I can’t go back, but I can look back. I can smile when I think of Colin bickering across the hall with Hannah, or Clinton drinking Coke for breakfast, or Ethan yelling “Hello, British!” every morning before class. I can marvel at the gift of one year that I was given with each of those people. I love them all so much, and I miss them.

And that’s okay.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

the evolution of a thunderstorm


It was the kind of storm you could literally watch racing across the sky toward you. First billowy white thunderheads, then their dark blue undersides; a deafening stillness and then a mighty wind. Dust thickened the air. Leaves swirled. The sky darkened like twilight. The flashes and rumbles began, followed by the fresh scent of summer rain.
This is one of my favorite scenes on the dry Eastern Washington plains.


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