Driving across western Montana, and then eastern Washington there are forests, and forests, and then fields and fields of grain and open land. I wonder if any of it is wheat, but we don’t stop. We keep driving.

And we drive, and we drive. For hours we drive, and I finish the first crocheted bag, and start on a second. And we listen to Alice in Wonderland. And we stop for lunch in Coeur d’Alene and eat at the Beacon on Sherman Street.

And we’re back in the car, eating caramels from Bequet, and we listen to Nora Jones, and Switchfoot, and I ask John Ronan over and over what he can see out of his window. “Trees,” or “grass” or “nothing,” he says.

And we stop for dinner in Toppenish–we eat Mexican food.

And then we arrive at Harvey and Linda’s house! We stretch our legs, and sigh with excitement–that we are released from the red Chevy Traverse, that the landscape will stay stationary for at least a few hours. How many miles have we driven since leaving Santa Barbara–home– ten or twelve, or fourteen days ago?

Clustered around the Saint John the Forerunner Monastery, outside the small town of Goldendale, Washington, live several dear people who once resided 900 miles south. They have built homes, and sheds, and learned to shovel snow and make cappuccinos and ride ATVs. And they tell stories of bears and cat miracles, and give the biggest, fiercest hugs. So, for two and a half days we visit, and go to church together, and walk in the woods, and meet new friends,  and drive the hills, and talk of coffee and Christ and are refreshed.


And then, there are several last good-byes and we are off.

And it’s hard to say good-bye. It seems we are saying good-bye too many times in a row, over and over

we pass through a new place,

see an old friend,

and say good-bye.


7 thoughts on “Washington

  1. When you drive through Montana you have to pass wheat fields. The state’s agriculture features “meat and wheat.” Black Angus cattle and fine, hard grain wheat shipped east and west for bread making in the mid-West and on the West Coast. If you passed any trains that were a mile and a quarter long and consisted of identical covered hopper cars, that was the wheat leaving for the mills.

    • Dear John:
      I needed you as my Montana wheat guide. Alas, we had very little time, but enjoyed the endless fields of grain that we passed on route from one spot to the next. One of the best breads I’ve had so far was in South Dakota–a swirled rye that they said came from a Montana bakery. yum…

  2. This made me cry…even more so than your Montana post. Isn’t is true that “home is where the heart is?” My heart is in Goldendale with these beautiful people.

  3. What a lovely post. Re. goodbyes, there is a lovely Scottish saying that I find comforting:
    Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again.
    Good luck on your continuing travels.

  4. This one tugged at my heart as I saw familiar faces and remembered the time that we visited St Johns Monastery–Troy worked on clearing some land and I taught the nuns calligraphy. Looks like they have a completely new sign out front. Too bad you didn’t get to stay at the Monastery in their lovely guest quarters. Next time! 🙂

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