Monday, October 20, 2014

The Lentils, The Leaf, The Legroom--with a side of prayer and Climate Change for garnish

This is a post about a RantWoman road trip to a lovely site outside Ellensburg. RantWoman promises yummy food and entertaining yarns. First RantWoman needs to detour and digress about climate change, transportation and telecommunication networks, and other face hit palm topics. Readers who want just to stop here are invited to look on the internet for a recipe for Lentils provencal with roasted parsnips, bouquet garnis with herbs from a garden, and sundry other upscale moments.


RantWoman’s faith community does not explicitly REQUIRE her to take more or less regular retreats out of cellphone range, but the most recent such foray reflects may interesting tangles from the life of one Washingtonian concerned about climate change.


Concerned about climate change, as in the topic is big and can sound depressing and how is Faith Community called to action about climate change?

 --Turns out faith community has a statement calling for action signed by umpteen different national bodies connected with faith community. There is clear call for action but the connection between call to action and specific policy choices is kind of fuzzy.

-Also turns out members of said faith community sometimes talk with members of other faith communities who also are concerned but not necessarily connected or thoughtfully organized.

--Oh, and faith community is also all about respectful dialogue both with the concerned and them um unconcerned or even, dare RantWoman say, obstructionist. Well first RantWoman would say obstructionist; then she would in ahle deeply of recent reading from John Woolman about what one author calls “soft persuasion,” attend more deeply to the precepts above and try again.

Doncerned about climate change as in having taken note of initiatives from the office of Gov. Jay Inslee and definitely being in agreement about the need to move forward even if not automatically in agreement about every thread of his office statements. Consider:

Concerned about climate change, as in involved professionally in a number of roles implementing public policies that already work to develop sustainable communities.

--RantWoman counts here a number of people in her faith community whose professions she knows of.

--RantWoman particularly counts one person who is not even required to admit in public that he knows RantWoman: a time or two RantWoman has showed up at some public input opportunity and offered opinions that rather directly antagonize a public official this person needs to work with. Ask RantWoman in person for further comment about bridge tolling if more detail is needed.


Concerned about climate change, as in some people concerned about climate change do not even like taking road trips to meet with other people concerned about climate change because of carbon footprint. RantWoman admires a couple such people because they are willing to work really hard about bicycling and pedestrian issues in urban areas but wonders whether other conversations would be enriched if there were ways for everyone to be in the same room either physically or electronically, although RantWoman does not recommend skype over Wifi as an electronic meeting venue.


Concerned about climate change as in willing to look at and see what actions suggest themselves from materials there.


Concerned about climate change as in WA is a big beautiful state with a backlog of road maintenance needs that it most likely will try to finance with gas taxes.


--Sounds great, right except there is SOME movement away from carbon-fueled vehicles toward electric cars. RantWoman thinks it’s only sporting that electric vehicles also contribute to the road network they too will use; RantWoman has no idea which policy levers to press about this concern.


--RantWoman does know, WA is one of the most trade-dependent states in the nation. The state needs a road and rail network also capable of supporting this trade, both in the sparsely populated east where the crops mostly grow and in the west where the ports are. Lentils and cherries and apples and wheat and potatoes and hops are wonderful, and WA produces way more than its own residents can consume and it’s nice to be able to market these products.


--How can the imperatives of action about climate change help the different parts of the state talk better about how to create road networks we all do need?


Concerned about climate change as in highly preoccupied by concern that there will be buses and public transportation for people who need it, in parts of the state where there really is not room to build more roads, there are lots of people who cannot or should not be driving, and a sustainable urban environment means buses and bridges and tunnels all shared by the vehicles and the passengers they move, preferably with the costs of this infrastructure shared in ways that also reduce carbon emissions.  


Concerned about climate change as in spectacularly alarmed about the impact on WA infrastructure and native American communities of coal and oil shipments through our state from the places inland where these natural resources originate to ports where the fuel is shipped to markets that will just burn it and blow the pollutants back across the Pacific in our direction. RantWoman does not want to minimize the concerns about fuel shipments through our state; RantWoman does note that concern about climate change should motivate action about many other topics as well.


But here, the road trip:


Lately RantWoman has been going to this event to take minutes for meetings related to faith community’s lobbying arm. RantWoman spends a lot of time thinking about transportation, whether or not there will be a bus when she needs one, how WA finances transportation, and other views from the RantWoman window on climate change concerns.


RantWoman always hitchhikes to such events. That is, RantWoman uses the phone and thumbs a ride from someone else also going. This time RantWoman was on the planning committee and needed to arrive early. RantWoman fretted briefly and then phoned….Monsieur Chef. Monsieur Chef also needed to arrive early. He is the hardy soul who volunteered to brew soup for the welcoming meal. Monsieur Chef is a good, enthusiastic cook with upscale tastes and an expansive kitchen repertoire.


Cue the lentils, complete with a few Fun Lentil Facts:


RantWoman rang up Monsieur Chef about a ride. RantWoman had another idea as well: RantWoman currently has something of a surfeit of lentils. Many of RantWoman’s neighbors receive food from food bank food distribution. Food bank food tends to run high in single ingredients for weeks at a time. Lately, lentils have been a consistent item. Unfortunately for this WA state crop, lentils are not necessarily popular, except for nuts like RantWoman.


Not necessarily popular, as in packages of lentils left forlornly in the lobby late into the night after all the moms with kids have had their choice of others’ unwanted leftovers. Free is never a terrible price, except if one is a farmer. RantWoman enjoys being resourceful in culinary dimensions. But reality recently set in: RantWoman has enough lentils to get her through a much harder winter that is likely in Seattle. Monsieur Chef owed the diners one vegetarian and one non-vegetarian soup. He was delighted with the lentil option and vowed to see what the internet had to offer in the way of recipes.


Next came the departure conversation. Reality turned out other than the initial conversation except for the key point: Monsieur Chef, aka Monsieur Chauffeur is currently leasing a Nissan Leaf. The weekend destination is just out of Leaf range and not in a direction with recharging stations. Luckily, the Leaf Lease comes with 20 days / year of option to swap for a gas-powered vehicle; swapping would be needed but the dealership is on the way to the destination.


Monsieur Chef assembled knives, pots, bouquet garnis herbs harvested straight from his garden, some kind of Morroccan spice blend, carrots, parsnips, onions, sundry other soup ingredients. This took him longer than anticipated so the vehicle transfer wound up a little hurried. Hurried but worthwhile! is Tall. RantWoman has been known to choose her hitchhiking options based on driver height and anticipation of legroom never mind size of vehicle and carbon footprint concerns. This time RantWoman scored: RantWoman apologizes for not even registering the model of gas-powered vehicle. What RantWoman cares about: Luck of the draw meant A LOT of legroom.


A lot of legroom is awesome in its own right; a lot of legroom also helped RantWoman calm down. Departure was LATE. RantWoman had been ready an hour before Monsieur chauffeur arrived. RantWoman was fretting about underdone lentils and letting down the hungry gathering crowd.


At moments like this RantWoman’s prayer life takes on fairly rigid parameters: Oh God, Dear Lord… bless these travelers and this vehicle and please, please  may people’s interactions with time and space align to get done all that is needed.”



The lentils got cooked.


The hungry got fed, or at least the ones attending this event. People were grateful.


The weather was glorious. Clear skies. Opportunity to “sunbathe” by holding activities outdoors. An early-morning walk through wet grass in sunshine with certainty that one’s socks would be dry by midday.


No wildfires anywhere near and no smoke either.


The weekend was rich in fellowship and spiritual ferment. And the road trip home served up another fascinating theme in the WA economy: the internet / telecommunications revolution. RantWoman could season with more chatter about Bluetooth and a GPS with visual output: this kind of GPS emits fewer noises of distress than the Minerva McGonigle versions RantWoman has met. These latter become frantic out loud. Riding with Monsieur Chauffeur, RantWoman a time or two realized the Monsieur Chauffeur was looking more at the GPS than at the road.  Did RantWoman already say she has enough to worry about and will put no eyes on the road driving on her might get around to hyper ventilating about someday list.



Then came time to LEAVE: for piquant details, see the last item in this post:

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