|Stony Man Trail, Shenandoah National Forest|
The pump at the gas station was old. So after I dipped my credit card, when it came time to choose a fuel type, I mashed my fingers on the "87." Nothing. I paused, puzzled, then some residual muscle memory took over and I lifted the metal hook the nozzle had perched on. The pump sprang to life.
Nor did the pump, after dispensing the gas, ask me whether I want a receipt—I've learned to refuse them; why print one just to throw it away?
The receipt automatically spat out, and told me we had paused in Hurricane, West Virginia. I added it to the list of enigmatic Mountain State place names like Nitro and Mossy.
"Hurricane?" The ocean is 500 miles away.
What you call something, and what it actually is or represents, can be two very different things. Turns out the town is named for windblown trees.
It was odd last week to track President Trump's Helsinki performance at a remove, while on vacation. Missing the original event, following the radiating shock waves bouncing around Twitter. People kept calling it "treason" though I don't see how that could be. "Fawning" maybe. Not an attractive quality in a person, never mind a president. But not a crime either.
Hugely significant, for a day, then not at all, as the smoke cleared and there he was, untouched. The liquid metal man in Terminator 2. His supporters, gulled dupes clinging to their charlatan, undeterred.
I don't want to insult them. There's too much of that. Several times we saw a billboard, "Beyond Reasonable Doubt: Jesus is Alive." I smiled, admiring the subtle jab. You'll believe what we do, it suggests, if you've got any sense.
Really? He sure ain't alive for me. Or for lots of folks, and believing Jesus is alive is not reason, but faith.
You can't drive five miles in rural America without some farmer shaking his religion at you, and not nicely either. Do they win converts with that? Or are they just venting their frustration at other people insisting on believing differently than they do. It's a threat, and they lash out, calling them irrational, even though irrationality is a definition of faith.
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