Out west, it can be a long drive to anywhere

When Joshua and Jaya finally arrive in their Promised Land in my novel Nearly Canaan, they discover how far they are from other destinations.

As I recall, some people would drive hours for a fine dinner, and hours going back.

Here are some drive times from Yakima, Washington, to other Western locales.

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  1. Seattle, 2 hours, 16 minutes. I remember it taking more like three or more.
  2. Spokane, 3 hours, 9 minutes.
  3. Walla Walla, Washington, 2 hours, 6 minutes. Having the Interstate down the valley has certainly cut the time here.
  4. Wenatchee, Washington, 2 hours.
  5. Portland, Oregon, 3 hours, 6 minutes.
  6. San Francisco, 12 hours, 6 minutes.
  7. Boise, Idaho, 5 hours, 33 minutes.
  8. Salt Lake City, 10 hours, 11 minutes.
  9. Denver, 17 hours, 19 minutes.
  10. Missoula, Montana, 6 hours, 9 minutes.

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And that’s not stopping for fuel, food, or comfort.

How long does it take you to get to a favorite daytrip destination?

 

One more little seasonal thing

Anybody else lucky enough to live in a place where you can buy unpasteurized apple cider?

So that you can buy two gallons at a time, as we sometimes do, and put one aside to start turning fizzy while we drink the other fresh? That second one stays sweet, unlike the pasteurized, which go sour, and is quite the treat. You know, with a little kick and fine bubbles.

Our usual source is a small roadside enterprise across the river in Eliot, Maine – King Tut’s, run by one line of the Tuttle clan, open weekends only from early autumn till Christmas or New Year’s, depending on the supply. They’ve been at it since 1903.

Other folks may be putting pumpkin in just about everything from beer to doughnuts as their autumn observance, but for us, cider’s the thing. Along with a few indulgences with pears, the ones that are properly ripened with no hint of graininess. (Poached makes for a very elegant breakfast or brunch.)

I think it was Confucius who insisted on no food out of season or place, which is fine in theory but impractical in regions like New England or the Upper Midwest. Still, it’s something I follow when I can, starting with the dandelion greens and asparagus in spring, glorying in nearly daily tomato sandwiches in August and September, and culminating in the brussels sprouts we harvest at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What do you indulge in along these lines?

Some perspective on four years of upholding a difficult decision

After the last presidential election, I made the hard decision to refrain from posting on White House politics for the duration. Admittedly, it’s been a trial when it comes to biting my tongue.

For one thing, my degree’s in political science, with a strong dose of the Federalist Papers and the foundation of American political theory. For another, I spent most of my career in the newsroom and watched with dread as these developments gathered momentum.

What I sensed with Trump was that I could add nothing from the sidelines. The storm had to play itself out, and vital criticism would ultimately have to come from the so-called conservative side of the spectrum.

What I didn’t anticipate was how appalling the daily affronts would be, each one washing over the previous one before the impact could sink in. No blogger watching the news from afar could react in time to remain current. Well, maybe by taking a longer term view, like once a week, but it would have been a full-time job.

As you can see, I had enough else to post on, trying to maintain a life-is-normal focus, even amid the current Covid culture.

Still, drafting this confession is painful. I long to see decency and intelligence return to leadership and society in general. At this stage, it won’t happen overnight. But we can hope the tide will turn.

Looking for a word that means ‘wisdom’

I was trying to find a word in Spanish for “wisdom,” one conveying spiritual depth.

Instead, what I came across in the dictionary related to factual intelligence or knowing. All head, no heart.

Nothing even suggesting common sense or good judgment.

What I wanted went deeper, say to the kind of understanding gained through long experience and discipline. Sometimes, the kind of knowing you feel in your hands.

Better yet, what Merriam-Webster calls “the natural ability to understand things that most other people cannot understand.” To which I would add a sense of calm and patience.

If the word or phrase exists in Spanish, I’d love to know it. Perhaps even with a few other things that get lost in translation.