I am at my hideaway. My rest. My place of refuge. Ever since I was nineteen, it’s been my place of refuge. Ever since I was a child, I’ve spent time here with my family and visited in my dreams.
Moss covers the limbs and trunks of the maple trees. Their leaves are green tinged with yellow. Rhododendrons lie dormant. The broad lawns are as brilliant a green as fall rains can make them. And the rock wall. It is the same as it ever was. Steady. Stable. For ever and always.
The air is warm. And I wonder, wrapped here in my truck, will it stick around? The sun shines through the autumn leaves. Maybe. Maybe it will.
There are stained glass windows, and dark corridors patterned with multi hued light, here at my feet. Here is the pipe organ; there, a Holy Bible open to Isaiah; there, atop a hymnal, someone’s reading glasses. It is quiet and still, and peaceful in my soul. I wander, filled with reverence and awe. And sometimes, many times, I am full of something much less than reverence. More rebel than saintly woman.
God loves us for who we are, not for how holy we look. I wander, taking pictures. I remember Poland. The beautiful chapel we wandered through in Krakow. I remember Scotland. Glasgow. The Gothic cathedral, and its dark towers rising. We laugh, sniggering as quietly as we can in this vast, echoey space of a chapel. This and that. Whatever random thing pops into our heads and makes us both dissolve into laughter.
Autumn leaves rustling across the pavement, whirling, swirling, across our paths and the empty parking lots. Here for the sake of being here, in God’s great outdoors. Not for this. Not for that. But for fellowship, a little more strength to keep on each day. I understand places like this. I know places like this, like the back of my hand. It is like my WWU, though more holy, in some ways.
This is a place of peace. I am not afraid of the words coming out of my mouth. I do not fear my lack-of-tiptoeing, natural self. At my ease, down this street and that. Down this pathway. Through these buildings. Easy sway, easy steps, air warm in the growing breeze, swaying the cacophony of trees. The gardens. The many, many gardens. Ease, and sway, to be myself. No pressure, pressing, hard against my chest. No fear catching at the throat. Just peace. Warm air, cloudy sky above, rustling trees and gardens surrounding. And the serenity. The serenity of this chapel. And the wind-tossed trees beyond.
The thunder deepened. It sounded as if the sky people were rearranging their furniture up in the watery clouds—moving table and chairs, snapping out curtains, and rumbling in their deep voices to one another. Rain began to fall, a few streaks at a time, and then more fully. The pinions atop the walls swayed, folding inwards on itself and curling around its pole.
Say, trolling along
Mess with the mind
is never very kind
(but terribly amusing)
Troll in the mud
Deep in the mud
River rolls past
Nonsense and past tense
Last tense and foretense
Floating down senseless
Today, I am kayaking 9-10 miles from my home, down to Olympia. I’ve wanted to do this since the beginning of summer, and this blue-sky autumn day was the perfect day for it. It wasn’t too hot, but it was warm enough to make me feel happy and content. I set out from the shade of the trees, still green with summer. Down to the shore. I push the nose of the kayak into the water, slid my paddle inside, and push off. I glide out over the water, deftly balancing before sliding into my seat. It’s time to set out.
I waste no time dallying around the moored motorboats. It’s time for an adventure, and I set off down the shore with swift, sure strokes. I reach Hunter Point first, and rest there. The tide is nearly at it’s peak, and I can feel it sucking at me. The water rolls like a living thing toward me, glassy and green as a jewel. I turn my prow into the oncoming waves, and hear the rhythmic, watery thumps as as my prow rises and falls into them. A minute or so later, the waves bound off the seawall and return, subsiding out into the depths of the inlet. I reach out for a buoy and catch hold, letting it anchor me as I rest. After a few minutes, I set out again.
I paddle around ancient boats, and dilapidated boat houses. Some folk watch me from their front porch. A golden retriever, grey around the muzzle, surveys me from his beach. A seal bobs to the surface, its sleek head and dark eyes those of another world. I click to it with my tongue. It watches me, then dips down into the waters again. A kingfisher flies down the shore in a loud, scolding voice. A heron wings away, hunched like an old man, its broad, broad wings slowly beating the air. A slide into a hidden cove, thick forests just beyond the seashell laden shore. A trickle of freshwater runs, gurgling, down the steep hillside. Yes, this is a good place to rest.
In time, I cross over from Edgewater Beach to the very tip of Cooper Point. And, it quite literally is a tip. A huge, elegant house stands on the point, where it is wide enough to hold it. But out here, the beach narrows to a thin point, about as wide as my kayak. After fighting the tide in the crossing, I rest on the west side of the point, letting the waves gently rock me back and forth, feeling the sun on my face, reveling in the last breaths of summer. The seagulls are less than pleased about my presence. This is their bit of land, they think. They wing away, squawking their protests.
And then? It’s onward, down the west shore of Cooper Point, down into Budd Inlet. And… I pass by memories. There is the shore where I spent time with old friends, long gone, and barred from returning. The place seems smaller, somehow, than it did years ago. It’s not so important anymore. And its hurt has faded. I am free.
Other memories are full of life. I recognize that house! We spent a homegroup outing there. I remember laughing at the boys as they goofed off in the raft and kayaks, spraying each other with the hose afterward. I remember times spent with my dear gal friends, talking of anything and everything, and enjoying one another’s company. I remember family. Home. Joy.
And then I move onwards. Traveling here, I have a different perspective than those traveling by land. I see the tunnels of light through the trees, their end at an old, concrete boat launch, caved in by time. Roots hang, exposed below. And the concrete slabs lay shattered like Aslan’s Stone Table.
I see hidden coves. Crabs scuttling deep below me, as I skim over the clear, clear water. A young doe suckling her twins. A multitude of houses, of all types. Some draped with Tibetan flags, faded by the sun. Others new, vast, full of windows. And yet others, reaching out precariously to the sea, supported by pilings covered in barnacles and mussels. I pass unseen by many of these places. I am the silent viewer, the silent admirer of these houses by the saltwater.
Later, I’ll stand out on a log boom, balancing amidst the tangle of logs, and haul my kayak up and over. Navigation… navigation. How did I get in this mess? Good thing I still have my dancer balance. Good thing I still have the strength to haul a kayak. And that water… such a beautiful sea-green. It’s a good thing I’m part mermaid. I love the water. And I love being out on the water. No matter how much my arms ache afterwards, or my dreams are filled with the motion of waves beneath me.
I dig through my closet, trying to unearth a writing for research. I sit cross-legged on the floor, pulling out journals one at a time. And I see what my life was like back then. A kaleidoscope from that season. A multitude of colorful glass, sharp-edged, from the old relationships of my life.
The first, a friend. An interest of mine, but in other ways, not. Mostly, I enjoyed spending time with him. Though sometimes, I wondered what it would be like to be his girlfriend.
He asked what my number was. I had asked why, and said I didn’t text guys a lot. He said he’s a man, not a guy. Told him he’s a guy, and not be snickety. And said no to the number.
Later, as I fought the drama surrounding me, I wrote:
I refuse to be a mess, scared, or act out of others’ opinions or whims. Choose your own fate.
The final one, before I left. An interest. So similar to me. Almost. And in other ways, so very different. He’d never been beyond his Shire. And I’d been to Mordor and back.
He tells me to stop pursuing him, then stares at me during church services. He has a divided mind, and confuses me.
He was staring at me during service, and it made me very upset.
He told me to leave him alone. I ruined the friendship, didn’t I?
Why do I have such a horrible time with guys? And friends. Why can’t I find a home?
Repentance isn’t “I’m sorry.” Repentance is change. When guys say “I’m sorry” but don’t change, they’re not changing, they’re just solving things temporarily.
Life: Falling apart. Reforming. Then falling apart again.
Is it true that the Earth is billions of years old? Millions? Several thousand?
If you’re a Christian, you believe that the Bible is true. And if you believe the Bible, then you believe in Creation. But, what about the age of the Earth? Is that open for negotiation? Let’s check it out.
Go to Genesis, the very beginning of the Bible. It’s name does, in fact, mean “Beginning.” In the beginning God creation the heavens and the earth. We all know this, right?
Now, the Bible says that the Earth, the heavens, and everything in them was created in six days, and on the seventh day God rested. If we look up the Hebrew word for “day” in Strong’s Concordance, we find that the same word for “day” is used from Genesis 1:5-31:48. The author of Genesis (possibly Moses), used the same Hebrew word throughout the majority of Genesis.
Now, let’s see what that word means. The Hebrew word is “yowm.” Strong’s Concordance tells us that it is from the root that means to “be hot… as in the warm hours.” It says it can be used in a literal or figurative sense. Since it is used throughout Genesis, I’ll let you look up the rest of the references yourself.
When talking with a friend about Biblical creation, and as I researched further, the above research led me to believe the following: that the six days spoken of in Genesis could have been a literal 24-hour period (“and there was evening, and there was morning, the first day”), or it could be, as he wished to assume, a period of time that lasted longer (leaning towards several hundred or thousand years per day of the six-day period).
Now, I believe that how a Christian views science (and uses literal scientific research), is very important. However, I also believe that Christians can get themselves into fits over details that can, over time, become nothing more than a legalistic pursuit. Remember, Christianity holds many things important, but the heart is what Jesus is after.
That said, let’s look to our source of chronology in Genesis: the genealogies. As I researched for my friend, I wrote down the following numbers:
“Adam was 130 years old when he fathered a son in his likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth” (Genesis 5:2 HCSB).
From there, I proceeded to jot down the number of years between father and son:
130 (Adam, when he Seth), 105 (Seth, when he fathered Enosh), 90, 70, 65, 162, 65, 187, 182 (Lamech, when he fathered Noah. That’s right! Noah of the Flood).
If we add up all those numbers we get: 1, 056 years (that’s from Adam to Noah). The Bible says in Genesis 7:6 that “Noah was 600 years old when the flood came and water covered the earth.” So, add 600 to the number above, and you get: 1,650 years.
The Bible is very exact about when the Flood occurred as well. “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the sources of the watery depths burst open, the floodgates of the sky were opened.”
The Bible also tells us that “Shem lived 100 years and fathered Arphachshad two years after the flood” (Genesis 11:10). From that point in the text, I jotted down the following numbers: Arphachshad was 35 when he fathered Shelah, 30, 34, 30, 32, 30, 29, Terah lived 70 years and fathered Abram. If we add up those numbers we get: 320 years.
We know that Abram (later renamed “Abraham” by God) fathered Isaac, and Isaac fathered Jacob (who was also called Israel). Israel fathered twelve sons, one of whom was Joseph (who saved his family by bringing them to Egypt). In Genesis 50:26 (the literal last verse in Genesis), it says that Joseph died at the age of 110.
Genesis 21:5 says that “Abraham was 100 years old when when his son Isaac was born to him.” So, let’s take that 320 and add 110: 430 years. Genesis 24:26 says that “Isaac was 60 years old when they [Jacob and Esau] were born.” So, let’s add that number to the 430, and we get: 490 years.
If I remember correctly, the Israelites spent 400 years in Egypt (from Joseph, to Moses). And they spent 40 years in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land. Together, that’s 440 years. In Joshua 24:29, the Bible tells us that Joshua (Moses’ right-hand man) was 110 when he died.
From there, we have the Judges (see the Book of Judges), Samuel (Israel’s last judge), and then the kings (who ruled Israel).
We live in the year 2015 AD (2,015 years after the birth of Christ). And that leaves up to present day. I’ll let you do the rest of the research yourself, but I must say I agree with many Bible scholars when they say the Earth is approximately 6,000 years old.
One of the first interests I remember was a classmate at Centralia College. Named after a Bible hero, he was one of those handsome and charming types. He was a hunter and shared my love of the outdoors. Once, he brought me a beautiful, orange-red rock he’d found in the woods. He was my friend as we traipsed on science field trips together. Later, I slipped on the wintry ice and he caught me. I was nineteen, on my seventh and final quarter of community college. I was a bit charmed.
We chatted a lot, my classmate and me. I remember sitting atop a table, feet swinging as I asked him questions about himself. He said he liked that his sister cooked for him. I wrinkled my nose mentally when I heard that. I guess his sister was the domestic type. I guess she didn’t go hunting with him. Years later, I ran into him at a grocery store. We didn’t talk for long.
Another was an RA off at university, in charge of checking in with everyone on our floor. He was one of those blonde, attractive types. I loved the look of shock on his face when he asked if he could come into our room, and I told him, “No.” My roommate got a kick out of it and we laughed girlishly after he’d left.
The RA was boyish and set up a tent in his room in the middle of winter because he missed summer. It was odd, seeing such a sparse room, with a tent plunked in the middle of it. He was reckless and skidded down the crazy turns of an asphalt road in the arboretum—sitting on a skateboard. I don’t know if he was a Christian. I never asked.
The third I remember was, perhaps Inuit? We met in dance class off at university. He was from Alaska. I think my suitemate disliked me because of him. The following quarter she loved to hold over my head that she had a boyfriend and I didn’t. She disliked me for who I was. I enjoyed my freedom to go and chat with guys if I felt like it. I enjoyed chatting with him before class, when I was early. But I didn’t enjoy how he stretched languidly, like a panther or a snake, as I talked with him.
The fourth? Fifth one? He was dark. Not how he looked, just what was on the inside. But I could sit with him during church service and insist on stealing a sip of his fancy coffee. I enjoyed having a guy friend I could spend time with. I liked how he laughed when I nailed him with a foam dart at movie evenings. But then he wanted to talk deep things with me when he got a girlfriend. No can do. It wouldn’t have worked anyway. I couldn’t date a guy who held to a skewed sense of creation and thought homeschool was dumb. I couldn’t date a guy who filled my asthmatic lungs with cigar smoke, even if he apologized for it afterward.
The sixth. He was immature, I realize now. I choose to remember the look on his face and what his body language said. I was to be made to see things his way. I balked. It was a clash of strong wills, but without any love. It wouldn’t have worked—this relationship. And besides, he didn’t want to try anymore. You can’t do anything about that. He didn’t like to get his shoes dirty, out there on our walks. He told me that bird’s nests were boring. He wanted to fix me up just the way he wanted me to look. I was not enough.
He was her age. They’d known each other since they were little. She’d always thought him quiet and stiff and sorta sucky at the sports they played. But now… he was in his element. Alive. Cheerful. Outgoing. Grown up.
The thing was, she’d walked another road these past few years. A road he knew nothing about, and understood even less. And she was fragile, eager for new beginnings, still trying to find her feet again.
It went well for a long time. Then not. He was still skittish around girls, in a lot of ways. Didn’t know how to talk with them, or be a good friend to them. Didn’t know how to react when they became friends with other guys.
He didn’t know how to take her concerns seriously in a firecracker-tense environment. He was nice, but that was all. Nice enough to be friends with, nice enough to talk with, nice enough to spend time with, but not street smart enough to understand her or the life she had lived.
And with him too, she walked on eggshells, afraid of ruining his world with her messed up life.
it, like every other guy relationship she’d had,
and dissolved like snow.