Day 1 – Holy Smoke!

After final packing and dusting off ash from the car windows, we trucked out of town by 9:15 a.m. to embark on the first leg of our long journey. It was hazy and smoky in Seattle and we knew we would be driving right into the thick of it going east. Which we did.

The drive along I-90 to Spokane was uneventful; smoky; and strangely sobering.  All the beauty of Snoqualmie Pass in the late summer was concealed behind a shroud of thick and smelly smoke from wild fires burning throughout the state. The sun burned orangey-bright and looked like something from a science-fiction film. Occasionally, it was not visible at all Рeven though there was not a cloud in the sky. Such an eerie scene was a reminder that we have had a record summer without any rainfall, allowing the risk and presence of so many fires covering huge areas.

Throughout the drive I was reminded how important faith can be. It takes faith to be assured that the beauty of the landscape is still there; grace is still there, although rendered invisible; and the goodness of creation still abounds, even though it is choking on smoke and burned black from wild fires. Through faith we know that even though there may be destruction from the forces of nature, there is also renewal and rebirth in the aftermath. There will be a day when the fires are quenched and the scorched land will re-bloom. Grace is found in the possibilities and in the future of this beautiful land.

We arrived at the outskirts of Spokane just in time. Our little Prius was very thirsty and flashed that ominous blue light that indicates she wants a drink NOW. Thankfully, we pulled off the freeway and filled Dixie (that’s our little blue Prius) with the most gas she has ever had in one drink – 10.073 gallons. Now, we don’t truly know how much gas a Prius holds . . . some have said 10 gallons; some have said 11 . . . so, the winner has to be 11 gallons (or more!).

After eating our sandwiches in the car, we were very eager for a hot meal. The hotel staff sent us to Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant, just 6 minutes away. We ordered bruschetta and split an entree. Needless to say, we enjoyed every bite. Everything was “homemade” and delightfully tasty and satisfying.

So much for our first day out. Tomorrow is another day. And from all reports, we will still be steeped in smoke and haze as we continue toward Montana and her wild fires. But beauty, embroidered with grace, lies beneath it all.