The Walk of Ash and Mud Is Not the Same as the Sun’s

February 26, 2011

Toppenish Ridge frames the southern edge of the valley.  Satus peak stands at the ridges highest western point.  From Satus the ridge walks to the east where it slowly blends into the valley floor at Satus creek.

The sun joins the ridge in telling winters story.  As fall moves to winter, the sun begins to rise above the horizon where ridge blends with valley.  As if all three—ridge, sun, and valley—take time to visit and converse about life, spring days, and summer evenings.  After many mornings, the sun takes its leave and begins its southern winter journey.

The valley keeps track of the sun’s winter walk by watching the suns daily rising above Toppenish’s ridge.  Each week the sun chooses a new crease or mound along the ridgeback to rise, each spot a little further to the west of the fall communal meeting.  The sun’s western journey continues until the morning of winter solstice where it settles in and rests.  The rest often seems long when days are short and cold.  The valley waits for the sun to begin walking to the east again, but knows the rest allows for long warm summer days when the sun is called to live high in the northern sky.  Eventually, the sun longs for the north and begins its walk back along the ridge, visiting knolls and folds from the recent western walk.

There is a tuck in the ridge a good ways east of the ridge’s last prominent knoll.  The ridge gradually slides away from the knoll, the drops quickly into a saddle, before rising again.  A strong wind blew the day the sun entered the saddle.  The cold, snowy, foothills to the valleys west lamented the sun’s return, knowing the wait is long.  The foothills blew with grief and the regret they paid too little attention when the sun was near, and gusted with annoyance the sun would not return.

The days of when the ridge cradled the sun in saddle beyond the last knoll are now the days of fire.  As the sun begins to leave the saddle, there is a new mournful cry from the valleys west.  The foothills have settled down their blowing and have crossed their arms in disappointment.  Today, where gusts once expressed irritation, now settles the low whisper that arises after the weeping and prior to the last tear.  Now soil that walks on two feet walks a path of ash and fire, searching for something of yesterday that might inform tomorrow.  These are days when soil stands erect and proud in one moment, and in a puddle of mud the next.  Yet, the mud is never alone for a dry and arid soil sits beside the puddle until tears dry and soil lifts itself and leans against sister soil.

These are days of sun sitting in saddle.

Donations are dearly needed to care for the wellbeing of children and youth of the White Swan community.  Please send tax deductable gifts, which specifically allow youth to express their thoughts and emotions through art and singing, during after school hours to,

Log Church
PO Box 547
White Swan, WA 98952
Please designate: 2011 WS Fire—Afterschool

Please send tax deductible gifts for general use concerning the fire to,

Wilbur Memorial
PO Box 40
White Swan, WA 98952
Please designate: 2011 WS Fire

© David B. Bell 2011


  1. Dave: I work with the children’s Sunday school at Wesley in Yakima. We would like to designate our children’s offering to the Log Church’s after school program, at least through Lent. Are there any photos online of the program in action? I’d like to be able to explain to our kids what goes on in the program, who benefits, etc. (A few of them have been to WS on food bank days.) Thank you.


    1. Amy, please take a look at the entries on Jan. 31 and Feb. 5. These will give a little background to both the art and choir after school classes.


  2. Dave,

    I used the Week of Compassion message on the fire and your response plus some of the other information on the effects of the fire as the “call to offering” this past Sunday as we observed WoC at Sierra Christian Church. Loomis, CA.



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