Trip Like I Do—Palouse Falls, June 28

Getting here was incredibly rough on our poor little hybrid sedan; the road into the park is grooved like sawtooth, which is great for winter visits, I guess, but absolutely bone rattling for city slickers in a ten-year-old car like ours. I genuinely expected parts to start falling off the chassis like some Hannah-Barbara cartoon. But we made it and were greeted by the most incredible lunch spot and view. Palouse is the official state waterfall and is significant to me mostly for what isn’t here; I love that Wikipedia even includes a whole section about it: “In 1984, the … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Palouse Falls, June 28”

Trip Like I Do—Priest Rapids Dam, June 28

The genesis of this whole itinerary was my reading about Smohalla, a spiritual leader of the Wanapum people and prophet of the Washani (Dreamer) religion. After yesterday’s extended quote from Eugene Smalley, I want to share a little of what Smohalla had to say: “The work of the white man hardens soul and body. Nor is it right to tear up and mutilate the earth as white men do. … We simply take the gifts that are freely offered. We no more harm the earth than would an infant’s fingers harm its mother’s breast. But the white man tears up large tracts … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Priest Rapids Dam, June 28”

Trip Like I Do—Hanford Works, June 28

Somewhere past this barrier is the B Reactor, where plutonium was manufactured for more than a quarter of a century and was used “in the first nuclear bomb, tested at the Trinity site, and in ‘Fat Man,’ the atomic bomb that was detonated over Nagasaki, Japan.” By 1966, the N Reactor came on and this death factory started to produce electricity, so up until that moment, the massive amount of energy produced here through the splitting of atoms and collision of neutrons “served no social purpose,” as Richard White so poignantly puts it. He goes on: “Everything at Hanford seemed … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Hanford Works, June 28”

Trip Like I Do—Ellensburg, June 27

The guy at Brick Road Books was full of stories. He told me about the biker gangs that congregate at Palace Cafe and the many permutations of place names that change with the tides of patronage. He also talked about the kind of outside real estate development that made the city what it is today. His way of speaking was hazy and circuitous, kinda like a Kerouac novel, so it was hard to grasp everything he was saying about the dynamics between locals and outsiders trying to make this place more attractive, but I do remember that, at one point, … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Ellensburg, June 27”

Trip Like I Do—Seattle, July 4

“Processing” takes a much more visceral meaning when you’re literally waiting for a roll of film to develop. I’ve never really known a time when photography wasn’t instantaneous; I mean, I do remember those days, but they didn’t effect me personally. The gap between holiday and photo album was like the cash my father drove to retrieve from a robot in the wall—someone else’s magic trick. We’ve all been processing something very heavy and very large in the past few months. It rolled in like a summer storm and it just sat there, covering everything with the acid rain of … Continue reading “Trip Like I Do—Seattle, July 4”

Consolations

A Pentecost sermon is many things, but you don’t often expect to hear about the fear of heights, let alone the kind of morbid ideation that sometimes accompanies that phobic vertigo: “what if I just flung myself over the edge,” the preacher intimated, illustrating his larger point about the fragility of trust in the self in contrast with the solidity of trusting in God. I suspect that his moment of vulnerability was encouraged by an editor who left a comment in the margin urging him to “tell us something of what you’re afraid of here.” I wonder if he worried … Continue reading “Consolations”

A Facebook Post About Love

In two days, I’ll be taking a bus to Redmond to cast my diasporic vote in the Lebanese elections. I won’t be doing this because I believe that there will be a direct correlation between casting my vote and seeing any change in my lifetime; I’ll be taking that bus to cast that vote because I love my friends and family and when you love, you do things like that. You show up, you participate, you chip in. I’m grateful to be able to ride that bus to Redmond; I’m grateful that I can ride a bus to pretty much … Continue reading “A Facebook Post About Love”

Saret Pizza

Lebanese people of a certain age can often be found expressing their frustration at the sheer audacity of the accumulation of circumstance with two half-moon gestures encircling an invisible drain, indicating the metaphorical girth of just how badly or how far the matter’s gone. “Tekhnet.” It has become quite thick. Lebanese people of a slightly younger age will widen the gyre, indicating that matters are so out of hand that the axes have collapsed and the pipe has transmorphed into “pizza.” Two fingers on two hands in the shape of an L around a very large O, wlo, “saret pizza.” … Continue reading “Saret Pizza”

So That Nothing May Be Lost

There’s something that happens whenever I read scripture; I find myself looking for God in the gaps—not “the God of the Gaps,” that theological sleight of hand that calls “God” any explanatory rabbit pulled out of every mysterious hat, but rather, the spirit of God’s lessons for us, today, at the margins, in the silences, on the thresholds—in any place we overlook. That these gaps exist is undeniable; so what, if anything, is the Spirit saying to God’s people there? We can ask this question in different ways when reading this Sunday’s gospel text. This event—often called the Feeding of … Continue reading “So That Nothing May Be Lost”

A Note on Climate

It’s been three birthdays since my last in Beirut. I’ve been away before—to and fro, on and off—but never for this long of a stretch. This dislocation was heightened this week as rising heat mimicked foreign climates and a dearth of AC units recalled a life of daily power cuts back home. What’s new over there, since I left, is the bottom seemingly falling out from under our national resilience, with crisis after crisis accumulating on the backs of my friends and family. The latest indignity is the now regular scene of lines of cars waiting to fill up on … Continue reading “A Note on Climate”