Day 2 – Prayers Rising Like Incense

We awoke in Spokane this morning to continuing thick and smoky fog veiling the sun and shrouding the surrounding countryside. But onward we pressed.  We were on the road by 8:58 a.m. (a particularly good record!) and traveled along I-90 East imagining the sights we could not see.

The experience felt like driving through miles and miles of campfires. It smelled like campfires – and, oddly enough, reminded me of my days as a thurifer. I always loved copious amounts of incense, especially during the holy week services. Carrying the incense before the cross on Good Friday and in the Gospel procession on Holy Saturday used to fill my head with the sweet aroma and left my alb and clothing smelling of smoky prayers well into the evening.

So all day long, as we traveled today, I prayed. “May our prayers rise like incense” as the psalmist sang. All this smoke fed all my prayers for our country and these Western regions destroyed by wildfires; for our country and those in the South affected by Harvey and all who are anticipating hurricane Irma in the Southeast; for our country and the goodness of heart so many extended, reaching out to help neighbors in need. It was a day of petitions and gratitude; a day of reminiscing and imagining. Travel allows for that sometimes.

We crossed into Idaho and eventually Montana where we lost an hour to Mountain Time, but made it to our destination, Glacier National Park in good time. After checking out the Apgar Visitor Center and determining how much of the Park is still open to visitors, we backtracked a few miles and found our lodgings in Columbia Falls at The Meadow Lake Resort. After checking in and getting our information briefing, we immediately asked for recommendations for a place to eat.  Having learned that the locals usually know the best places, we followed the clerk’s directions and made our way to “Backslope Brewery.” Their hamburger was truly one of the best I have ever eaten! But, then maybe it was because I was just so hungry.

We took a short after dinner walk around the golf course at the resort and found our way back to our little studio apartment. It’s tiny and cute and just right for a few days in Montana.

Even though smoke obscured the landscape, we found delight in other ways. We listened to Joan Baez and Doc Watson while driving, talking and praying. One note of particular interest: we traveled the entire distance with only a single comfort stop. That could go down in Ripley’s Believe it or NOT. I must say, it wasn’t out of choice, but out of the lack of choices. Praying helped.