The ride to St. Leo from Federal Way cuts across the Tide Flats where the Puyallup River and Hylebos Creek and maybe some other waters enter Commencement Bay. The Flats are the glacial silt deposits as well as historical volcanic mud flows from Mt. Rainier which can be seen looking east from the mud flats, rising 14,400 feet to Columbia Crest, the highest point on the Mountain.
Mt. Rainier is covered with glaciers that keep it "snow capped" year round and runoff from these glaciers flows into at least three major rivers - the Puyallup, the Green and the Nisqually - which enter Puget Sound from the Duwamish mudflats and Elliott bay in Seattle (North End) to Commencement Bay in Tacoma to the Nisqually flats just north of Olympia (South End). If you look west from the Tacoma Mud Flats the Olympic Mountains can be seen rising over the waters of Puget Sound and the Kitsap Peninsula. The Kitsap is an interesting piece of land intertwined by the waters of Puget Sound and lying just to the east of the Olympic Peninsula, where the Olympic Mountains are being pushed up by a teutonic plate.
Today as we drove to mass the sky was pink with the newly rising sun. The high clouds overhead were so high that you could see the entire rise of Mt. Rainier as well as the expanse of the Cascade range running north. The gap between the Cascade mountain tops and the clouds in the sky at this eastern horizon, was like a window that let the sun pour across the earth. And the light created a brilliant scene with golden highlights across the tops of the Cascades to the east and to the west the Olympics, fresh with snow, seemed close enough to touch; the shadow of the Cascades cast softly on their flanks. Tacoma on the south side of the bay looked like the Shining City on the Hill.
Later in the day, after mass, we took our walk at Redondo. The sky was steely gray and the sun, now well into the sky was above and behind the clouds, almost indistinuishable as to where it was along its path for this day. This along with the cool moist air at Redondo created a sense of closeness as if the clouds and the sky were much lower at this time. Something of an illusion or harbinger of the incoming weather, as looking west across the water, the Olympics were visible and still majestic, but seemed to have lost the crispness they displayed in early morning sun on our way to church.
Today we celebrated epiphany, the day the Magi found and recognized Christ. My wish is that every day is an epiphany experience in which we discover and reveal Christ in our lives.
Happy New Year - 2009!