Thursday, March 20, 2014

What I Can Remember

It's been about 14 years since I've been to eastern Washington, where the town I regard as home exists.  No one from my family remains there, we've all taken off from the rocky and dusty nest we once inhabited.  It's as though none of us expected to live past high school in Ephrata, Washington.  It didn't feel temporary.  It felt eternal.  And I never think of it or miss it.  The six years I actually lived there, apart from summers while in college, were long enough.

I just remembered it while describing to a friend from China how we passed cars on the two lane  backroads where I grew up.  Memories of checking for oncoming cars, then going to the left and gunning the engine until safely past the slower car and then moving back to the right lane.  I wasn't the most confident driver, but doing a safe lane pass was something I had to do often and learned to do well.  I also learned to look out for oncoming cars in my lane and move onto the shoulder of the road if they miscalculated the time, distance and speed needed to safely pass.  When I think about it, it's amazing I lived long enough to leave Washington.

Along with that memory, more of wide open skies, dry heat and cool evenings came to me.  The smell of sagebrush, grit in my eyes and the sound of the howling wind.  A particular mauve sunset.  A brilliant glorious sunrise. Wet grass from the dew, and long runs on the canal. Irrigation circles. Alfalfa and cow manure. Smells from the onion fields. The view of the patchwork farmland vista from the top of Mount Beezley.  Burrs on my socks while crossing a grassy field.  Trains shaking the house.  Because of the barren landscape, I never took a tree for granted.   We had a lot of unique features of our region I never understood or appreciated while I lived there.  The coulees, the canyons and the scab lands.  The Potholes--not in the road but around Moses Lake.  The alkaline waters. 

It is interesting what I used to find boring and ugly, I started to appreciate as I got older.  When I was sixteen, I was startled on the way to school by beauty of the land and the snow.  It was as though I was blind, and then I was able to see.  The familiarity of desolate places started to be interesting and I saw a majesty in them.  I realized the unspoiled purity of places that were hidden from most people's eyes. I recognized even that the rugged "scab lands" had a depth and power, which would amaze when I thought about how they must have been created by forces unimaginable to me.  It wasn't long after seeing creation had a Creator, that I began to believe in a Savior.

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