Thursday, July 05, 2007

Akin to enforced bed rest...

is time spent in a place which has few commercial or cultural experiences to offer. Such is the nature of a visit to my family out in Moses Lake, Washington.

The city of Moses Lake itself is a thriving community out in the Columbia River Basin, in the channeled scablands, distributed along the shores of a seep lake which divides the city into several parts. Because of its sunny climate, easy access to larger Washington cities, its low cost of living, and its weird beauty, Moses Lake has attracted an assortment of industrial efforts such as Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Japan Airlines training center, and, nearby in Othello, a Microsoft plant. All this has caused Moses Lake to grow fairly solidly and become more prosperous than it might have, given the paucity of "big city" amenities like nice department stores (other than WalMart), fine restaurants, and the like.

There's not much to do in Moses Lake but hang out with the family. It's too hot (106 earlier today) to go for walks along the lakeshore, too pleasant to stay indoors in the air conditioning, chat with the relatives, watch the fireworks and pig out on barbecue in the family backyard, nod off over a book, watch the kids during swimming lessons, go to a movie.

I am not thinking of church, of sermons, of anything that smacks of "work". I am relieved temporarily of all the tasks of my normal life and am only eating, sleeping, and reading. Oh, and writing this blog entry. It feels like a purge, of sorts, to let go of almost all the things that tie me to my professional life, of almost all the things that fill up my private life, and immerse myself in my family members and their doings.

It's a necessary and useful time in my life. Even though it may sound dull, it is not. My family members are interesting and though we are on very different wavelengths about a few things, we have so much in common that our time together is rich, if not wildly exciting.

Last night I sat with Joel the Neff and Christina, his lovely and talented wife, and talked about blogging and kids and family matters, as the fireworks exploded overhead and the children ran around the yard. And somehow, it felt like I had come back to the center of my life, where I am related by blood to those around me, with common experiences and memories and hopes. There's nothing quite like that anywhere else in my life. I have to go to Moses Lake to find it as richly as this.

I'm hoping that one day the Favorite Son and his lovely wife and my new grandkids will decide to relocate in the Northwest and that they will join us all in Moses Lake for a visit, so the cousins can intermingle, the adults can swap memories, and the lack of stimulation can put us all in a place of utter rest.

10 comments:

LinguistFriend said...

You didn't stay off the air for long!
Goodness, I envy you the family connections and time, since I have few at this time other than children. The extended family of my ex was one of the things I lost when she moved from where we lived in CA to Me. I was reminded of that when one of her cousins (now deceased) turned up this spring for a couple of mentions in Lisa Alther's most recent book.
LinguistFriend

Joel said...

Gripe, gripe, gripe! Not all of us can live in a place where you can hitch your wagon to a slug and you have to mow your moss twice a week.

Christina Martin said...

Culture! Yes, I think you've given me the answer. If it hits 110 indoors again today, rather than risk heat stroke in my living room, maybe I'll go visit the "museum" in town.

You're right, there's a paucity. Now if only we could get a paucity of digits in the temperature, it might look better.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

Moses Lake is indeed a very nice place to be a family. Thank you for the good review. :)

ms. kitty said...

Hello to Jason and thanks for your kind words. I hope you get to know Joel and Christina who also like Moses Lake.

Joel said...

I thought the name sounded familiar. Jason sells real estate. Which explains his appreciation of the kind things you said about our town.

Berrysmom said...

Kit, Wal*Mart is NOT a nice department store, despite the other undeniable charms of Moses Lake.

So glad you are having this quiet time with family. I am envious!

Mile High Pixie said...

Ah! I rather like that kind of "enforced bed rest", when you can just hang out in the somewhat middle of nowhere and enjoy some peace. Good for you!

Joel said...

Berrysmom, it may not be much, but it's all the department store we have these days. Its predecessor as our best department store, amusingly, was called "Berry's."

And honestly, after five years in Seattle and six (more or less) in Portland, I love being in a place that's dull. Let's put it this way: I've lived here for 13 years, and I'm not sure if my truck door locks work or not. Cultural opportunities are for people who have more time than kids.