Palouse Falls, WA

Travel Journal: Palouse Falls, WA, 2021-05-13.

A massive flood created Palouse Falls in western Washington State when a half-mile high dam of ice holding back glacial Lake Missoula broke (and it broke many times) more than 13,000 years ago. The flood(s) sent billions of tons of water raging across western Washington. Now the Palouse River pours over a basalt precipice and makes for pleasant cliffside viewing. We know the history because geologists studied and determined the cause. Wherever we’re at, that place has a history.

            — source: “Washington State Parks, Palouse Falls State Park flyer, a information posters at the park.

Off the Grid and in the Stars

(2021-05-13 Travel Journal: Tucannon River RV Park, near Palouse Falls, WA.)

When you read this, Judy and I will have rejoined the internet-connected world, but as I type this on my computer, no web or phone signals arrive or leave our campsite in the Palouse hills of western Washington. However, we’re overlain by a sky gloriously full of stars.

Last night, I lay in the quiet of the dark night and easily saw the Big Dipper, Arcturus, Spica, the Corona Borealis, Vega, and Leo. There were many more, and I will learn their names during our cross-country exploration of dark-night places, but those were the campsite friends I recognized to whom I said hello last night.

Writing, like praying, is nice.

Wherever I’m at, and whatever situation I’m in—beautiful places, not so nice places—I can write about them and explore my thoughts. It’s a bit like praying. My thoughts and being are always wherever I am. Likewise, God is always here and everywhere, including when I look at the sunrise or when falling asleep in my bed, but he’s also far beyond my short-life mortality: in the sunrise, sunset, mountains, ocean, trees, birds, deer, and bugs—in inspired texts and in my nightly prayers. Wherever I am and in whatever time I’m in, I can write and pray.

God Made Birdsong for Human Souls

“The initial step for a soul to come to a knowledge of God is contemplation of nature.”
—Irenaeus (120-202 AD) [Quoted in “Teachings on Creation through the Ages,” The Green Bible, I-98.]

God made birdsong for human souls. Yes, birds twitter, chirp, and hoot in a symphony of life (as I appreciated during a recent riverside walk) to attract mates and make declarations of self, but they also speak to the souls of the species that God determined should listen to, think about, and pray thanks for these songs.

Bugs crawl and mammals walk; plants grow, transpire, and make life-giving oxygen, and all are part of God’s web of life, and together compose the variety he so loves. But birds have a unique role in communicating God’s wonders to us sometimes unhearing, unseeing human beings, for they twitter so much and flit so often in their colorful wake-up-the-morning sort of way.

If God desires to stimulate our senses to appreciate his life-giving, creative being-in- action, then birds—his multi-varied demonstrators of life—serve that role wonderfully.

Seeing God in Nature

Apprehend God in all things,

for God is in all things.

Every single creature is full of God

and is a book about God.

Every creature is a word of God.

If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature –

even a caterpillar –

I would never have to prepare a sermon.

So full of God is every creature.            

— Meister Eckhart

Washington legislators do good work for people, the environment, and businesses

Senator Christine Rolfes, the Washington State 23rd Legislative District representative and the Chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, reported in her 27 April 2021 e-newsletter on the hard work that the state legislature did this session to support people, the environment, and businesses during these Covid times. She reported on national and state programs that will provide money locally via the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, Grants for childcare providers, and the Immigrant relief fund. She also goes on to talk of

“Big wins for Kitsap in capital budget” (as pasted below):

Continue reading “Washington legislators do good work for people, the environment, and businesses”

Actions in Washington State and Washington, D.C. create hope

Because of a major change in my life (my wife and I are leaving Kitsap County and soon will be trailer traveling around the United States), I’ve not been able to write of the details of the many wonderful, Earth-changing legislative actions that have occurred in Washington State and Washington, D.C. recently.
     In Washington State, a Clean Fuels Bill and a Climate Commitment Act have just been passed by the legislature and are awaiting Governor Inslee’s signature. At the national level, President Joe Biden and many leaders in Congress, other agencies, and businesses are shifting America’s and the world’s direction toward a green-energy economy.
     Greta Thunberg says that hope is created out of action, and in the last several months so much critically necessary actions have been started in this state, nation, and world, and for that I am happy. Such actions create hope for my grandchildren and for other species and they also—though only time and our continued actions will tell—may justify God’s having put in our hands the power to destroy or steward life on Earth. So much news regarding climate change and extinction was bleak, but recent actions provide hope.
     I regret (because I’m up to my eyeballs in the tasks of my household move) that I can’t sufficiently report on the specifics of the many people (activists, legislators, and leaders) who have done so much (government and business initiatives) during the past few months that may move us and many species into the future. Though I can’t accurately report details, I can remark on the positive, Earth-changing course that I’m seeing being set, and I can express my deep gratitude to the many people who have put in their time, labor, and expertise to make actions and hope happen.

Where to go for quality national news

In the 12 March 2021 issue of the North Kitsap Herald, opinion writer Don Brunell made the sweeping claim that “unfortunately, it is not the mainstream or social media” where Americans can go for “honest reliable and accurate information.”
     Given that the mainstream media and social media encompass so much—and given that I’ve read many well-researched and well-written news articles, often supported by interviews with experts—I knew that Brunell’s claim was overly simplified. Just because misinformation is now easy to distribute widely does not mean that good news sources suddenly vanished. But it raised for me the question: Are news sources rated per standards of professional journalism?  Or, to rephrase Brunell’s important question: Where can Americans go for quality national news?
     National news media is rated in the Media Bias Chart at https://www.adfontesmedia.com/. Ad Fontes Media describes itself as a “public benefit corporation with a mission to make news consumers smarter and news media better.”
     Media are assessed for whether they present facts well, perform complex analysis, and are reliable, or if they instead mostly distribute opinions or show a high variation in reliability. Low on the chart are those media in the selective, incomplete, unfair, persuasion, and propaganda categories, and at the base of the chart are those characterized by inaccuracy or fabrication.
     Some media both report facts well and are unbiased (or present a balance of biases). Others do good fact reporting but are minimally to the political right or left, and some are clearly skewed right or left. But those tendencies are identified.
     The distribution of ratings on the chart resembles a mountain peak. When looking at the top third of the peak, you’ll find that a good number of quality national-news media are available to us.
     We’re awash in information and misinformation, which makes it incumbent for us to know how our news sources rate in terms of reliability and bias. We do have sources of quality national news, irrespective of sweeping but inaccurate comments that they no longer exist. The Media Bias Chart helps us in our important responsibility to identify them.

Sing for the Climate (an Earth-Day Song)

– Istanbul 2018
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixn9pB4DkB4&list=RDIxn9pB4DkB4&start_radio=1

–  Belgium 2012
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cg_tcJ1SgxA

– Greta Thunberg introduction
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ7TSlArK6Y

– Flemish Artists
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7V1qLLsn7M

– Auroville 2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2LxVX0tQaY

Ask the Animals

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

— Job 12:8–10