It's been threatening to rain all day. If I forget, the wind chimes that Beve has layered on our back deck sing to me in reminder. I want the summer to stretch deep into October, want my geraniums to bloom into autumn.
(this salmon geranium is the plant I've been pampering for years--it's an off-spring of one given by Beve's mom to her best friend in 1963)
The wind is no longer a summer breeze, the chimes say, but cool, with undertones of falling leaves and crisp apples. Even our dogs no longer lie on our hardwood floors, panting out their heat after being outside. Instead they curl up like bagels on the couches (on the quilts, of course! wouldn't want to get the actual couches dirty!).
I've missed the rain, if truth be told. I like it. I've grown used to living in a place where rain is part of the natural rhythm of life and keeps everything lush and green.
I miss the smell of rain in the air, fresh and cool, and the feel of it on my head. I've lived in this part of the country longer than any other place on earth. Well over half my life, come to think of it. And I love it here. Love it so much that I can't imagine living anywhere else. People often ask (now that we're the ages we are) where Beve and I have thought of moving when he retires. Here, we say. This is where we are home. And we knew it as soon as we got here. The water, mountains, forests all form a perfect marriage. Why, there are only a few places (and probably most of those are less urban than on the I-5 corridor with a population that swells every single day with Canadians who come across the border to shop!) where deer routinely stop traffic. Yesterday it was a young male with the beginning of a fine rack. All alone. And every car braked for him while he meandered across the busy street downtown. Yep, right downtown.
It's because we live right on the border of human population and the wilderness.
And I love that.
But just this afternoon I began re-reading a book that makes me remember why I always look east to the Palouse when I think of the land that is formative to my soul. There's something about those rolling hills and the prayers uttered there that made (and continue to make) me who I am. One can press in beneath canopy of trees, one is exposed on those hills.
I live vicariously through my farming family, too. Ask them more questions about the farm, their work, the seasons, the harvest, than a west-sider usually even knows to ask. But if you could see the Palouse, you'd get it. It's just so beautiful. SO God-created beautiful. Yes, in a quieter, emptier way, a way that means you don't have traffic but you do have neighbors, you don't have western Washington rain but you do have storms. You don't have 'purple mountain majesty' but you do have 'amber waves of grain.'
And God will meet you on those hills. The silence there sings with Him as loudly as my wind chimes. And today as I sit in my west-side living room, watching the clouds over Bellingham Bay, I'm thankful that I first learned to hear His voice on the other border of our state, far from the waters of Puget Sound.
There on the hills of the Palouse.