Here, the herring gulls cried, “Klick-tat! Klick-tat!” and seadogs drove salmon. I wondered why bats must fly at night. In a play of dark clouds over the Cascades, the sun set at an angle illuminating all the ridges and intensifying the perceived depth of rugged, treeless slopes. A yellow cap sat on the humpbacks of the ridges defining our valley. The wind drove smoke around our living room, hinting at my own existence as a nearly homeless monk newly come to a place unlike any I’d known, to witness forces I barely understood. Where were the relevant theologians and historians? Yes, read the wood smoke. Can the burning logs tell you what death means? In the Evergreen State, everyone apparently had a fire.

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