Monday, October 20, 2008

Eastside Beauty


The last two mornings I've gone for short runs training a new puppy that my family has adopted from a local shelter (I'm sure he'll be the source of future blogs--both my kids want to blog about him first). But as I was running yesterday, with the morning crisp and clear, I thought of a bit I wrote for the local newspapers the fall I first moved to Washington. Enjoy.

"How in the world has the glory of the greater Seattle region in autumn gone unnoticed by the American population in general? What veil of secrecy has been erected to keep the hordes of traveling wilbury’s from tooling around the wooded hills and leafy lanes of King County? Who conspired to keep all of this beauty a thing hushed and hidden?

I’m the new kid on the block, living for the first time through a fall in the great Northwest, God’s backyard, and am amazed daily. I’m not a runner, but I’ve been running lately, two or three mornings a week, just so I can get out in it. There are trails around my neighborhood, and they connect with the Tolt Pipeline, and when I hit that thing right as the light lifts, it’s as if fireworks set off inside of my skull, the colors of fall exploding before my eyes. The rush is endorphin, beauty breathed deep, a connection between the beauty that dwells somewhere within me and the beauty that dwells all around me, the source of which is the same. Whether the fog clings to the trees like my grandma’s fuzzy white shawl, or the sky is high and the mountains are singing; either way the pulse is firing. Anyway, I can’t figure out what to do with it. I find myself amped like a triple espresso, in love with everything I see, joyfully ready to tackle the giants in the land, and it’s a hard sell to come back home and shower up for the rest of my mature, responsible, adult, crossing the “i’s” and dotting the “t’s” day. Oh, there is a different kind of passion that comes with a clear work road to travel, a challenge and a purpose to pursue that makes things better in the world as well as providing some basic necessities for my family, and I’m lucky in that I choose to do what I do from a deep sense of conviction, but it’s still not the same as being in love with life.

It’s not the same as seeing the deep mystery peaking out from behind each leaf.

Which is why even at my office I find myself looking out the window at the row of poplars that are shimmering their way towards a blond greenish gold. Which is why I almost run my car off the road as I’m looking at the snow capped Cascades, or the majesty of Rainier thrust forth, emergent and free. There’s too much going on to merely focus on the road. Obviously, safe driving has its merits. I’m just saying, the extravagance of beauty demands attention.

As you drive home today, notice things. Listen to a song that breaks your heart as you marvel at a nature so abundantly wasteful that it would discard its multi-colored foliage, most of which is currently covering my front yard. Translate the beauty around you into beauty in action…love somebody tangibly however you’re inspired to by the assault of glory that swirls about. But for crying out, don’t tell anyone about it, especially not anyone living outside of Washington. The last thing we need is more people moving into the area, telling us how great this place is…"

9 comments:

Josh Peters said...

Is this Bilbo II?

Ginny said...

My favorite time of year, these precious weeks of fall colors. Who knew chemistry could be so breathtakingly beautiful?!

Josh M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josh M said...

I'm looking out my window right now at the same beauty Howerton's describing. In the small area I can see there are at least 7 trees that each have different coloring- bright red, burnt orange, dark green, deep purple, etc. Fall in the PNW is amazing! (But I agree, let's not tell anyone!)

Chan said...

Haha, you do realize the people not to tell have included Cali transplants like you and me right? ;)

Terri said...

that last comment confirms you are now an official transplant! I'm a NW native and still am in awe of His gift that surrounds us....

GARY GILLIAM said...

So did you get lost in Eastside Beauty!? Its been a week :)

marisabutterworth said...

Look at you... adding pictures to your blog. You are doing it! You are really doing it!

Nancy H said...

I loved it the first time you wrote it and still do!! I hope I get to see some fall leaves when I come up?