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.