Monday, July 31, 2006

Colville Under Smoke

Main Street in Colville.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

The corner of Main and Astor.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

I left work this afternoon and found Colville under a cloud of smoke from forest fires in other parts of the state. The smell of smoke filled the air and the sun cast an eerie, orange glow over the city. Unfortunately, these photographs do not capture the experience with any degree of realism.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunset on the Mountain

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

As the sun began to set this evening, I stood on the mountain and pondered my own place in the world. Every time I visit that land, I feel something stirring within me, as though some deeper power were about to awaken. I also feel sadness, but I'm not entirely sure why. The spirits of that land are speaking to me in very subtle, but powerful ways. I hope I will be able to receive the message with a good heart.

The Garvey Family

Francesca's family invited me for dinner on the Mountain after the Wellpinit youth event. They basically took me in and counted me as one of their own. We talked about the power of dreams, spirituality, and Abe's adventures in Costa Rica. Many thanks to the Garvey Family for their love and hospitality.

Wellpinit Youth Explosion

Visitors from Korea sang at the drum.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

My Auntie Darlene sang at the drum.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

The Christian community on the Spokane Reservation pulled together an event for young people called the "Youth Explosion." The kids gathered on the Wellpinit Fairgrounds and heard Bible messages, drumming, singing, and other traditional arts. Francesca invited me. It was a lot of fun. I think the highlight for me was singing at the drum with Francis and Connie. Other people joined in the singing, including my Auntie Darlene. At one point, it was like the Holy Ghost fell on us, Indian style, and people started dancing and hollering. It was a wonderful experience.

The other highlight for me was when a group of people from Korea sang traditional songs from their country on our drum. It was beautiful and haunting all at the same time. Except for the words, the songs sounded just like they came from Indian country.

Abe and the Drums

Abe teaching the drums.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Francesca (right) sitting with other learners.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Francesca's son Abe came back from Costa Rica and taught a group of folks to play the African drums. That guy has a lot of talent and energy. It was a lot of fun to both watch and hear.

Neon Sign

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

On our way back home from the mountain, we stopped to eat at a little roadside cafe in Usk, Washington. Nothing really unusual happened, except I saw the back of this neon sign and I thought it made a cool photograph.

Ancestral Lands

Flowers on Monumental Mountain.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

The Pend Oreille River near Usk, Washington.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Yesterday my family picked huckleberries on Monumental Mountain, north of the Kalispel Indian Reservation. We met up with our extended family and picked together. The berried seemed a little more scarce than other years, but we still managed to get enough for our needs. We had a wonderful time together as a family.

We got to talking and realized our family has gone to that site every year since before anyone can remember. For all we know, our ancestors picked berries on that mountain for 10,000 years or more. It's a wonderful feeling to have a small part in that kind of tradition.

My recent ancestors were Kalispel. I feel such a close feeling to the land in that area, the mountains, the rivers; I love the way I feel when I go there.

Manressa Grotto

Dakota at Manressa Grotto.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

My family inside the grotto.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

My family stopped at Manressa Grotto on the Kalispel Indian Reservation on our way to pick huckleberries in the mountains. I heard they used to hold religious services inside the cave, but I don't know for certain. Regardless of the history, we love to stop there whenever we get the chance.

The Sisters

The Sister Missionaries.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

The sister missionaries visited our home the other day for dinner and a spiritual thought; Sister Edwards from Rexburg, Idaho and Sister Holmgren from Tremonton, Utah. We've had elders in this area for many years, but it's nice to meet new people. These missionaries are wonderful!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Coyote the Mischief Maker

I almost killed Coyote as I passed over the Chewelah plain this afternoon. He bolted out from the tall grass, sprinted across the highway, and quite nearly perished under the wheels of my Ford Ranger pickup. He made a narrow and heroic escape, but I was unimpressed. I pulled over to the side of the road and threw offerings to the wind, hoping to break whatever spells he might cast in my direction. "Spilye!" I called out in my Native language, "I don't want your mischief!"

In all the old stories, Coyote helped create the world and ran errands for the One Who Sits on Top, and yet for all his grandeur, he never seemed to rise above his own petty arrogance, jealousy, and deceit. Oh, he sometimes gave wonderful blessings to the people, but not before inviting humiliation, disrespect, and ruin.

His gifts always come with a price. I'm not sure I'm ready to accept those kind of blessings again.

Miracle Worker

My brother-in-law Paul, the computer miracle worker, put his considerable knowledge to work and helped me figure out a way to retrieve my photographs from the computer crash. I wouldn't pretend to understand it all, but he helped me load a Linux operating system onto the computer and thus bypass the Windows XP error screens. Yes, I am helpless, but he saved the day.

Crash Update

I called my brother-in-law Paul, as I do in all computer emergencies, and he suggested several interventions I may wish to try before throwing my computer over a cliff. For starters, I will try loading a different operating system onto the computer and see if that helps. If not, he thinks I can plug the hard drive into another computer and possibly retrieve the data. I hope he's right. I can do all kinds of wonderful things with photographs and other software programs, but I'm lost when it comes to deciphering the mysterious inner workings of a computer. Meanwhile, I'll continue to post from an undisclosed, remote location.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


My computer crashed late this afternoon, leaving me with no way to retrieve or post more than 10,000 photographs I've taken over the last few years. Sadly, only a fraction of the pictures have been backed up onto compact disk. The computer error screen assures me none of the data was lost, so I guess it chose to simply holding my images hostage until I can afford to fork out the cash for repairs.

So what now? I suppose I'll have to focus on my writing until I figure out a way to retrieve pictures from my other hard drive or the camera itself.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church in downtown Spokane.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

First Presbyterian Church in downtown Spokane holds an elusive appeal for me. Sometimes when I drive by, I feel compelled to stop for a photograph, but then the building refuses to reveal its beauty and charm for the camera. The angles never seem to work right, or powerlines obstruct the view, or shadows fall in all the wrong places.

Today was different.

As I passed the church, the late afternoon sun cast a fiery haze over its beautiful gothic towers. Once again, I had to attempt the perfect shot. I'm not sure I succeeded, but perhaps I got a little closer than before.

Milk Bottle

One of several "Milk Bottles" in Spokane.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

This little building shaped like a milk bottle stands unobtrusively across the street from First Presbyterian Church in downtown Spokane. At least one other building of similar shape exists on West Garland Avenue, and is a diner with the name "Milk Bottle." These little milk-shaped buildings are charming in their own way, and remind me of a happy, bygone age.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Sphinx

The Sphinx at the Masonic Temple.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

I drove a friend downtown late in the evening, and then spent some time wandering around, feeling depressed, and half-heartedly looking for something to photograph. I had my tripod, and usually I enjoy taking time lapse photographs at night. But something about the night had me feeling down. Then, wouldn't you know it, the only place that catches my eye to photograph is the Sphinx by the Masonic Temple. The picture turned out nice, but it wasn't until I got home that I realized my father died at that very location a little more than 12 years ago. It was like that Sphinx watched over my father's passing, and then called me back all these years later.

Why did I end up there? What unresolved issue brought me back to that place, and does it have anything to do with how I've been feeling lately? Just when I think I'm done grieving, and have nothing left to give and no more tears to shed, some new layer of feeling reveals itself. What will I do now? What lessons will I learn that I didn't know before?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Innocence and Wonder

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

After we left Long Lake, we paid a visit to Edward and Christine on Vision Mountain. As always, we had a wonderful conversation. I really love those guys.

I took a series of pictures of my daughters blowing the umbrellas from the giant dandelions on Edward's property. It was Whitney's idea. I really like these pictures, because they show movement, rather than just one still shot. I think the photographs capture something of the innocence and wonder of my children.

Self-Portrait in Sunglasses

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

I took this photograph when I was just fooling around with the camera at Long Lake. I thought it turned out kind of cool.

Swimming at Long Lake

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

With temperatures topping 100 degrees this afternoon, we sought relief in the cool waters of Long Lake, near Corkscrew Canyon Road. Yes, it was very refreshing and the kids loved it.

Touring Heart Song

Dakota by the pond at Heart Song.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Whitney playing drums in the Barn.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Ever since I first visited Heart Song, I knew Rhonda needed to see it. She sponsors two or three women's retreats every year, and I just thought Heart Song would make the perfect setting for the work she does. Well, she and I finally got to see it together with our children and Rhonda's mom. We had a wonderful time with the owners, touring all the various facilities. By the end, Rhonda's wheels were spinning with all the possibilities. She's already making plans...

The kids loved it too. I think the best part for them came when we went up to the meeting room in the upstairs of the old barn and found a whole trove of musical instruments and drums. It was like a musical paradise. The girls were so excited with the instruments, they didn't want to leave.

We had a great time!

Family Day

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Our day together as a family began very early this morning. I woke up to find my daughters sneaked into our room and wormed their way under the covers; and they did it all without me noticing. Now, that's nearly impossible. I must have been sleeping quite soundly for that to happen, because usually I send them back to their rooms. In fact, I've been so consistent on this point, they never try it anymore, but maybe they came to our room today because it is the only room in the house with air conditioning. Whatever the cause, I found their little invasion more endearing than annoying. The day got off to a wonderful start.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Prison of Your Mind

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

You live in a prison made of concrete and steel, where knotted bands of razor wire carefully preserve judgment, lest pity dissolve your sentence too soon. The world stands with a pointing finger and demands justice from your very bones, but no confinement compares to the fleshy prison of your mind; for even after your release, you never find the freedom you dreamed of. As you walk the streets alone, captivity lives within you. The screaming synapses in your brain are stronger than any jail cell, and even friends become your enemies, servants to a greater evil. Laughing, they offer you one more drink, one more hit, and with crystal chains around your neck, they lead you back to slavery.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Elder Wiltse Returns

Elder Wiltse with his parents.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Adam Wiltse returned from his mission to Guatemala and we joined his family to welcome him home. The crowd waited anxiously to catch a glimpse of their return missionary and broke out into applause as soon as he came into view. I felt myself wanting to cry with emotion from the reunion.

Adam had a weary look on his face from hours of travel, and bewilderment from reverse culture shock. I remember the feeling well from my own return years ago.

He and I only had a brief moment to visit, just long enough to find out my former companion Elder Samayoa was his bishop for seven months. I'm sure we'll have lots to talk about.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Moses Cousins

Some of the Moses cousins...
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

My brother's daughter Ashley spent the afternoon playing with my children. I think they must have had a wonderful time because I hardly saw them, and I only ever heard them a few times laughing. I hadn't seen Ashley in several years, and I don't think she remembered me very well. They live in Alabama, near Fort Benning, Georgia. When she saw me, she looked very serious, then she smiled and said, "You look like my daddy." It made me very happy to hear those words.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Family Home Evening

McKenna designed and presented the lesson.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

My family has not sat down together for family home evening in several months, but McKenna came home from church today and announced she would like to have one this evening; so she designed the lesson and presented it herself. For the lesson, she gave each family member a picture of someone praying, reading the scriptures, or doing some other positive activity. She asked each family member to talk about the picture and say how the activity depicted helps people be like Jesus. I thought it was a wonderful concept and she did a great job presenting it to the family.

The Teacher

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Anthony called me this morning and wanted to meet. We spent only an hour together, along with his girlfriend, but I always enjoy the visit. Seeing him always makes me feel a little sad because of the circumstances of his life. He's semi-homeless, and has a million other struggles. All I can really say is things haven't worked out for him the way we would have liked, but I suppose it'a a lesson in acceptance. It really is ironic; we've walked through hell together, but even misery can be a divine teacher. Where would we be without it?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Francesca and Nate

Francesca and Nate, auntie and nephew.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Nate and I drove out to Wellpinit to my uncle's sweat lodge, but no one else arrived for quite a long time. We thought we would be the only ones there, but just as the rocks were about to enter the lodge, two of my uncles showed up.

We finished much later than normal and drove home while I felt somewhat tranced-out. I ended up spending the night on the mountain with Francesca and Nate.

It's quite interesting I've known this guy for a very short time, but as I slept I had some very prophetic dreams about his life and future. Francesca, Nate, and I spent the better part of the morning talking about what I saw. Afterwards, we visited some of the sacred sites on the mountain and then I brought Nate back to his other aunt's house in Spokane. When we parted ways, I didn't want to end the visit, but things had run their course and I had to go home. It was a wonderful day.

Buddhist Stupa

Prayer flags flying over the Buddhist Stupa.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Francesca and Nate contemplating the stupa.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Francesca took Nate and I to the top of the mountain near her cabin to see a Tibetan Buddhist Stupa built some years ago. The stupa copntains relics from Tibet and has become a place of meditation for people of many faiths and backgrounds. She also showed us other sacred sites on the mountain.

Heart Song

Statue of Kwan Yin at Heart Song.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Nate Garvey called me yesterday afternoon and asked me to pick him up from Heart Song, near Tum Tum, Washington. Once I arrived, he showed me the various facilities on site, such as the main house (formerly a barn), a dorm, a sauna, several yurts, and other various structures. We found this statue of Kwan Yin, Goddess of Compassion, in a grove of trees. It is a wonderful place. I would love to return for a spiritual retreat or something similar.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Lunch in Colville

Inge and Jonas.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

My step-mother Inge Mebes invited me for lunch this afternoon at Colville's Cafe al Mundo. Her daughter Heidi and her grandson Jonas also joined us. We always have such a wonderful time sharing stories about our respective lives and common memories from my dad. We shared more than a few adventures in our day digging roots, picking huckleberries in the pouring rain, traveling to Canada, and visiting ceremonies on various reservations throughout the Pacific Northwest.

She told me a few harrowing stories from her childhood in the former Yugoslavia, but I will wait to write about that. She may eventually write her memoirs and I would not wish to steal her thunder.

Chataqua Days

Carnival rides at Chataqua Days.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Passing through Chewelah on my way home from work, I couldn't help but notice festivities taking shape in the town's annual Chataqua Days. I stopped for a few minutes to take in the sights and get a picture or two. It looks like tons of fun.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

God is speaking still...

Greek Orthodox Church in Spokane.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Several months ago I posted a comment about the new roof on the Greek Orthodox Church of Spokane. Just as before, seeing the roof today reflecting in the sunlight made me feel a certain connection to the divine in the midst of a hectic day.

After work, I spent the majority of the day with an old friend, helping him get a new ID card, a birth certificate, and other documents he will need to get his life back on track. In spite of the rush, we managed to talk about serious things, like how treatment is going for him, and what he's learned from his life on the streets. He talked about denial and minimization as it relates to drug use. I feel sad, and hopeful for him all at the same time.

At one point, a song came on the radio, causing him to pause and reflect. He quoted the words as the music played:

"Whenever I'm alone with you, you make me feel like I am free again. Whenever I'm alone with you, you make me feel like I am clean again...

"However far away, I will always love you. However long I stay, I will always love you. Whatever words I say, I will always love you. I will always love you (The Cure - Love Song)."

He said an old girlfriend once dedicated this song to him, and now it reminds him that good things can still come into his life.

Somehow the image of that church tied it all together for me. Seeing the church reminded me of God's plan for me, and hearing that song reminded my friend of things he once hoped for and can hope for again. God is speaking still...

Monday, July 10, 2006

On The Road

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

I drove about 215 miles today between my job in Colville and transporting a friend to Wellpinit. I'm exhausted, but I had to pause along a quiet stretch of highway to photograph this barn. I edited the picture somewhat to soften the jagged edges; perhaps in some kind of subconscious wish to soothe my nerves after a long day on the road.

Encounter With Bears

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

I really love my little digital camera, but today was one of those days I really wish I had something with better capabilities. I encountered a couple of black bears on the Spokane Reservation foraging through the underbrush. Sadly, I have to give you a rather pathetic photograph of the one bear who decided to pose for me; but at least you may get an idea of how close they were. I found myself looking over my shoulder more than once, looking for the mama bear. Fortunately, I only ever saw these two.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.


Your laughter
Cuts through darkness and silence
And tells a drunken tale
Of everything we lost
And roads not traveled.
We distract our pain
In the drug of chaos
And still the child within us
Wanders the weary street
Looking for what we might have become.

Yes, we laugh
But underneath the jagged exterior
We cannot stop crying
For innocence…
That will never return.

Sometimes when we fight
My fist swings against your face
All because you looked at me funny
When my day wasn’t right
Or you said the wrong words
When I wanted something different.
But then we smile through bloody teeth
When rage goes back to its hiding place
And I remember
You’re still my brother to the end.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Just Hanging Out

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

I'm feeling overwhelmed with a lot of things, falling behind with work and other responsibilities, but I had to get out and do something with a friend. I called my new friend Nate yesterday and invited him to just hang out for a while. He is Francesca's nephew and I met him a while ago through my friend Edward. Anyway, we met downtown and talked about philosophy, spirituality, and religion over soda. I suppose those are pretty deep subjects, but it was still a nice break from other things.

Afterwards, I met my friend Doug, whom I did not expect to see in Spokane. He needed a place to stay, so we offered him our spare room. We had a great visit too, though I wish it had been longer.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ethical Decision-Making

Colville Public Library.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

My students and I took a little field trip to the Colville Public Library to participate in the first in a series of public lectures to be offered this summer. Each lecture will cover a different topic and will feature a variety of local experts.

Today's lecture addressed the issue of ethical decision-making and was presented by Whitney Edwards, local librarian and Whitworth professor.

Edwards presented the bare bones of philosophical discourse and introduced the main schools of thought within the field. At one point she drew a diagram of two polar opposites of philosophical thinking: relativism and objectivism. On one end, relativists believe all ethical values reside within the individual; or in other words, things are right or wrong simply because we say they are. On the other extreme, moral objectivists believe God, nature, or some other external source determines ethical truth.

As she described the conflict between relativism and objectivism, I commented to the class how her diagram perfectly captures the so-called culture wars of our times. Some segments of our society insist there is no one-size-fits-all moral truth for everyone, while others are so convinced they know the absolute truth, they have no problem telling everyone else they're wrong, and they will even attempt to draft legislation to reflect their moral convictions.

As emotional and shrill as the conflict sometimes appears, it's interesting to know this argument has been going on since the days of ancient Greece.

As the discussion progressed, I found myself tending toward moral relativism, but then the presenter challenged my viewpoint somewhat. I stated that I believe in relativism, but that certain things just work better if we have social agreements regarding how to treat one another. I would have considered myself a pure relativist, but she said some might argue my belief in a greater social good may fall slightly under the objectivist banner.

Interesting, isn't it? Philosophy is never so simple.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Spencer holding a sparkler...
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

We made no specific plan this year to watch the fireworks at the park, though we got to see them as we were passing through. Instead, we spent the evening with our friends lighting sparklers and other "tame" fireworks. My kids had never seen this kind of fireworks up close, so it was more delightful to see their reaction than it would have been to watch the display downtown. This photograph captures the wonder our kids (and our friends' kids) felt to see the fire up close and hold it in their hands.


Storm clouds gather behind the church...
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

The sky turned black...
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Just as we were leaving Ritzville this evening, a powerful thunderstorm rolled in from the east. I got these photographs just before the rain began to fall. I tried to get a shot of the lightnight, but it simply would not cooperate. As we drove home, the lightning crackled all around us and a vicious storm cell dumped torrential rain and hail on our car. In all my life, I don't think I've seen a storm like this in the Spokane area.

We arrived in Spokane, just as the fireworks were going off at Riverfront Park. We pulled over to watch the display of artificial fire on the one hand, with lightning approaching on the other hand. It was wonderful to see the lights and hear the thunder mingled with the 4th of July celebration.

A Day in Ritzville

Grain elevators at sunset.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

Abandoned school in Ritzville.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

We spent the day with our friends in Ritzville. I have to admit the town is not much in the way of a tourist destination; however, we didn't go for the town, rather for the company. Good friends turn any location into an enjoyable experience; and I even got a few good photographs. Who would have thought?


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