Saturday, December 11, 2010

These hills

Back on the homeplace...well, I suppose technically it isn't mine but my sister and brother-in-law's homeplace, but I'm claiming it as my own as well since I love these hills and have stared out at them at least a day or two in almost every season of the last almost thirty years.  And that's not even counting the close acquaintance I had with them for the fifteen years before that from in town.  Yep, I'm on the Palouse and today the hills are expresso brown with long patches of snow covering the northern slopes from storm last week.  Most of the snow blew away in what folks around here called the 'Pineapple Express', which I've never heard before.  The definition is clear, however. Air warm enough to melt and make a mess of things blew through, thankfully leaving enough to leave the ridges I see from my sister's living room.

Have I mentioned that I love the view from these windows?

But then I'm a view kind of person.  I really am.  If there's a view to be seen, I'm at the window staring at it.  Sometimes when E and I watch House Hunters on HGTV, prospective buyers (or realtors trying to make a sale) make some comment about the great view out the window. The camera pans to said view and all I can see is the backyard.  Sometimes it's wooded, but sometimes it's merely a stretch of fields so flat the only thing to be said about the view is that the sky isn't obstructed by anything.  Phew.

Have I mentioned that I'm something of a snob when it comes to views?  It's true, you know.  Each of the four houses we've owned has come with its own particular (actual!) view.  As I washed dishes in the dishwasher-less kitchen of the first old house we owned, I could see Mount Rainier perfectly out the window.  At least on sunny days, which were admittedly not as many as I might have wished.  Those were lean years in terms of my writing, but I wrote a short story once that used the idea of the mountain 'being out' as a metaphor for a young mother's need for hope in the general malaise of her life.  From the next home, we could see Victoria, BC across the Straits of Juan de Fuca.  Admittedly, we needed binoculars to do it.  We bought the property because of that view.  Sometimes regretted that choice (though that's another story for another day), but also thought we'd never have a view to beat it.

We moved to the big house out in the county just a house remove from our current address and I'm pretty sure I was ready to buy when I saw Mount Baker perfectly framed in the master bedroom window.  Upclose and personal.  Always gorgeous at sunrise (which Beve often saw) with the sun coming up behind her and perhaps even more beautiful at sunset.  The sun wasn't visible, but the glow of it reflecting on the snow, changing color as the sky in the west changed color--this was an amazing image to me.  Reminding me of how we are to reflect Christ.  No direct color or light, just the reflection of the Son on us is what makes us glow and light the world.

Then we moved to our current house, where we have another water view.  I've written about it many times.  About the broadening of that view.  Bellingham Bay spread out before us like a gift.  It is a gift.

But for all these views, somehow I'm most moved by the ones on the Palouse.  The view I see in my dreams from my parents' house.  The one I stare at out my sister's living room windows.  This is earth. Undulating, rolling soil that for all the work done on it never changes.  And yet it participates in feeding us.  It is part of God's plan for us to live in relationship with Creation.  I love the beauty of the mountains, and the timeless wonder of the rolling sea, but the fields--brown with soil, green with shoots, gold with grain, white with harvest--are the rainbow colors of abundant life.  The rhythm of how we must live in order to live...if that makes sense.

And the same rhythm of how we must live to share His new life.  I am reminded of this when I stare out these windows.  When a person's life looks like these fields--dark and deep and nothing close to the surface that speaks of readiness--it would be ridiculous, absolutely absurd to try to bring that person to Christ.  The field--person--must be white with harvest, not with snow.  Let me be reminded of this.  Encouraged by it.  Recognize the rhythm, indeed the perfect rhythm of these beautiful hills.

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