The Angel of the watch walks crisply down the pearl tiled passageway, deep inside Heaven Command. He makes a couple of turns down brilliantly lit passageways until he arrives at a room with a golden placard above the doorway reading, Central Control.
Upon entry, he scans the room. Resplendent troops of the Angel Armies man various stations in the room. He steps up to one of the troops diligently monitoring a large mock up of the United States. The angel on duty salutes smartly. He returns the salute and says, “I relieve you.” The on duty angel replies, “I stand relieved”. The Angel of the watch now stands before the huge map. Each state is labeled and most of them have a dial placed centrally within their boundaries. He scans the log book for his daily orders. His hand hovers over dials that range through the various stages of all four seasons, then he reaches to the upper left side of the map. There in the top left corner is a state that does not have a dial. It simply has an “on-off” switch. He flips the switch, abruptly bringing summer time in Washington State to a close and instantly ushering in the long, dark and wet winter. Satisfied, he goes back to the other states, making subtle adjustments to their weather, secure in the knowledge that he will not have to attend to the “Washington switch” until at least the fourth of July.
Meanwhile, those of us who live here get to “enjoy” the sudden change of the season. The sun begins to arrive late and leave early, but usually that is invisible to the naked eye as the sky is blanketed in a gray cloud that brings rain upon rain, chill upon chill, and produces for us the most lovely of green trees, usually only visible during the two months of summer.
When I first moved here I mostly appreciated the lack of extremes. Colorado had bitterly cold winters and brutally hot summers. Western Washington had neither. At forty degrees people stay huddled in their homes around electric base board heaters. At 75 degrees they are bemoaning the awful heat and considering the purchase of an air conditioner. They aren’t all that common here. I saw one, once. It got up to a sweltering 80 degrees and the owner was giving tours of his single wide mobile home that actually had an air conditioner at the low, low price of five dollars a head. The line was immense. Some even went back twice!
Over time, my initial satisfaction went away. Perhaps it is because I have dreamed of tropical living since I first visited Florida as a young boy. Perhaps it is my inner wanderlust, spurred on by a fierce case of ADD. Now, more than likely, the cause hangs squarely upon the reality that I used my body and my strength for most of my adult life as a source of earning a living. Now, when the cold and the wet begin to move in so does Thor, the Norsk god of aches and pains. My back and my shoulders remind me for a mere nine months out of the year that I used my body with reckless disregard for the impending ravages of mid-life. OK, I get the message!
I went to Hawaii a few weeks ago. A dear friend offered to pay my way and pay my stay. Within minutes of leaving the overly air conditioned confines of the Airbus A340, I felt the aches that I had become so familiar with leave my body, exercised like so many demons by the simple warmth of the Maui sun. Outside of that control room, Heaven must feel an awful lot like that!
In America we are free to choose where we want to live. Staying in Western Washington is a choice. It is a choice I grudgingly make each and ever week during the chilly and damp winter months. I surrender my desire to live with less pain for the joys of being close to family. Hawaii is impossible. We have an old lab mix that would never survive the mandatory quarantine. Florida has too many creatures that look at humans as a food source. Our family is here, mostly. Some are in Kansas, but that is even less desirable.
I tell you this tale tongue in cheek. It is not to conjure up sympathy for my suffering. Most of my readers are here in the same place, dreaming many of the same dreams, anchored by the same commitments. I tell you this because my warm weather affability wains into a different type of outgoing amiability when its cold and wet. Folks often ask me if everything is “OK”. It is. My life is a wonderful tapestry of color and texture, line and design. We have new children, new grandchildren, new friends and our business is growing. God is good and gracious and continues to pour out on us all sorts of amazing love gifts.
I tell you this tale because I am not as quick to jump up and greet you when you wander into the barber shop. My heart is there, but my mind must process the journey and how to do so without stirring up too many sore spots. I tell you this tale so that you know my love for you and yours still burns just as warmly in heart and it is that warm glow that makes my days here in the chilly and dark Northwest worth living.
May God grant you warmth from within and from without.