My full and joyous immersion in the glories of the Northwestern outdoors can perhaps be most dramatically illustrated by the unknown amount of time I spent this morning standing in a gulch completely surrounded by the green and gold of tree leaves beside a flowing brook, becoming slowly soaked by the rain streaming across my upturned face, glad for the screen of greenery which shielded me from the sure to be questioning eyes of passers on the nearby street. But it was also celebrated yesterday and the day before with ventures into the park just on the other side of my aunt and uncle's house, where trails crisscross enticingly through a miniature forest sprinkled with hidden clearings, shocking bursts of autumnal color, and benches that cry out for a contemplative visitor to join them in their breeze-stirred solitude. Do I really live here? Is there really such a land as this, where the days rotate between crisp cool sunshine, enclosing swirls of mist, and purifying showers from the sky? Incredible.

This morning was my third in the process of seeking out a new church community in the area. I attended the Fauntleroy Church of Christ, which I enjoyed quite a bit. The service leaned more towards the traditional than the contemporary, but I was excited to find that once a month the congregation breaks into small groups at the end of the service to discuss the sermon in greater depth. This happened to be such a week, so I got the chance to meet a few people from the church, including a very friendly young couple who introduced themselves to me as we were walking over and invited me to join their group. I think I connected more with this church than I have with the past two I've attended--the first, West Seattle Presbyterian, reminded me of the church I attended as a child but was a little large and impersonal, and the second, West Seattle Christian, had a good atmosphere but was a little alarming in some of the leanings I sensed in their underlying attitudes.

It's a slightly strange process, seeking out a church. My life thus far has found me, at various points, at many different types of churches, from an all-black Full Gospel church in Mississippi to a small renegade Eastern Orthodox-influenced Anglican church in England, and I have grown from and been fed at each in different ways. But I have also just come from several years with a home church in Tacoma that I deeply admired for its integrity and thoughtfulness in incorporating aspects into its methods of worship based on a combination of Biblical precedent and internal searching, so that everything was thought-through and done out of true belief and not for show. It's a sadly rare quality, I think, and dependent on individual church leadership rather than inherent to any specific denomination, so finding such a church requires seeking and time. In the meantime, I hope to grow also from this process of ecumenical exploration. C. S. Lewis has some wise words on the subject (doesn't he always?) in the 16th of the Screwtape Letters, so I am trying to keep those in heart and mind.

Other than that, I have been settling in well to this new lifestyle of writing and playing with my cousins. This past week illness intervened to interrupt my writing process somewhat, keeping the boys home from school for a few days and even hitting my aunt and youngest cousin, and necessitating that I spend slightly more time helping out with the kids and consequently less time in front of my computer plugging away at the screenplay which is currently my most active project. Nevertheless, I have managed to reach about page 33 out of a typical 110, and when I do have the time to apply to it the writing is going along smoothly and swiftly. The trickiest part of this project is translating the narrative voice which is one of the novel's strong points into the screenplay version without completely overwhelming the audience with constant voiceover. It's good practice, though, and is somewhat akin to a child learning to write their letters by tracing over some that an adult has dotted out for them--by adapting this novel, I am in effect getting to trace over it, and examine the story's developments and narrative techniques critically and in exquisite detail.

That's the main of the aspects of interest in my life at the moment. I'm still on the lookout for the hiding places in which peers and potential friends lurk in the nearby area. Fortunately I have had several opportunities to make my way back down to Tacoma for various events, and have thus been able to connect with many of my good friends who remain down there. But it's something of a trek, and it would be nice to have some contacts a bit closer to home here. So, we shall see if I can search some out. Other than that, all is well. Those of you who read this and have been in contact with me are always an encouragement, so thank you. Until next time.


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