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—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”

Our Marmite God

There’s a sticky sandwich spread in the United Kingdom called marmite. It’s as dark and goopy as molasses but has a savory flavor that’s so strange and inscrutable that the company that produces it decided decades ago to celebrate its divisive distinctiveness with a slogan that declared: “Marmite—You Either Love It or Hate It.” Brilliant. Why pretend that your yeast extract is just like peanut butter when it’s so demonstrably not? By fully owning your bizarreness, your fans become your best evangelists and you may even generate a healthy margin of profit from the curious seeking something new (even if … Continue reading “Our Marmite God”

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”

The Meaning of 888

For years, a running joke I told was that I was born on Antichristmas—June 25, the symbolic antipode of Christmas Day. And while the season’s greetings I text my friends have become a lot less sarcastic, I am beginning to see a lesson in the turning of that wheel, again & again, and the spiral path it’s made. As a species we seem to be formed by contrast. “Kikhhh,” the Lebanese mother will sound out to the child who has tried to taste something he’d picked up off the ground, establishing his boundary between clean and unclean. If this line … Continue reading “The Meaning of 888”

The Meaning of Six Six Six

And what spot does X mark? X is you and I, the coming together of diagonals—an intersection and ideal symbol for the very search for meaning. X can mean the unknown variable or the buried loot at the center of a treasure map; X is both a placeholder and a destination—a deliberate holding pattern, or, perhaps, a refusal to land on familiar terms. In our cultural consciousness, we have Generation X, The X-Files, and Malcom X. Let your eyes shift back & forth between these correspondences. Contemplate their polarities—if strange patterns emerge, what you are now experiencing is what Umberto … Continue reading “The Meaning of Six Six Six”

The Meaning of 1, 2, 3

Knowing thyself can serve a practical purpose as well; it’s a shorthand that short-circuits the rookie writer’s evergreen anxiety: how to tell a story that is not a long series of introductions introducing more introductions. I-dentity draws the “I”—a line in the sand—and brings the point to focus. I am traveling with another; this is my story. And yet, as with all quick-fixes, identity begs more questions than it answers. Where exactly is the starting line? At a recent staff retreat, I came ill-prepared to a team-building session with a scrapbook as my story-prompt that I planned to turn into … Continue reading “The Meaning of 1, 2, 3”

INTRODUCING INCONJUNCT

I want to tell you about a little project called @INCONJUNCT. But first, a few words about “inconjunction,” a technical term from astrology that’s neither “conjunction” nor “opposition.” It might not even be anything at all as, indeed, it wasn’t for ancient writers like Ptolemy who called it a “non-relationship.” To understand the concept, you may want to hold in your mind a certain metaphysic of cosmic influence—as above, so below, etc—but even that is not entirely necessary; you may choose to follow the symbolic geometry instead: “Dividing a circle into two parts creates a diameter and two points on a circumference separated … Continue reading “INTRODUCING INCONJUNCT”

All-In-One

Today, the Full Moon is in Pisces and I’m thinking about how not that many lunations ago, I would not have known nor cared about what that signified. I’m less concerned with what this time might mean for me and more in awe with how a couple of conversations could cascade into a whole new comportment towards vast webs of signification—stimulating ideas, for sure, but also, whole communities of practice. I’ve stumbled onto a wholly foreign shore and have realized that millions of people have been here all along. It really doesn’t matter what I end up getting out of … Continue reading “All-In-One”

Digital Discipleship

I recently enrolled in a class on digital media and Christian discipleship, and the next post I’ll be making will be part of this week’s assignment: “post a picture that reflects your definition of discipleship on your Instagram account.” “Discipleship” isn’t a term I hear used in the churches I go to or the churches I grew up in; I’m more familiar with the “believer” to “follower” spectrum of terms for that general concept of allegiance to Christ. So I had to figure out what’s different about this word before I could define it for myself. Looking up and talking … Continue reading “Digital Discipleship”