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Sebastian and I left for our big summer trip to Yellowstone one Sunday evening in early July.  We stopped in Kearney the first night and enjoyed the hotel swimming pool.  The next day we hiked at Scott’s Bluff National Monument and explored Fort Laramie, getting a little too close for comfort with a snake while climbing a tree.  I joked that the first 500 miles of our “Wyoming Trip” was simply spent getting across Nebraska—the state is that long.

That night we stayed in Guernsey, Wyoming and visited its Oregon Trail Ruts the next morning.  We had lunch in Casper and saw a downtown parade.  We drove through the White River Canyon to Thermopolis, where we enjoyed both the Wyoming Dinosaur Center and Hot Springs State Park.  Finally the next day, after lunch in Cody and driving up through the Shoshoni National Forest, we arrived at Yellowstone National Park.

We stopped at Fishing Bridge, which crosses the Yellowstone River not long after it leaves the lake.  From there the river begins its long, meandering trek north.  The name of the bridge is a misnomer, as it was once a bridge you could fish from, but that is currently banned in order to help the native cutthroat trout recover.

I mentioned to Sebastian that this was the river that had flooded in June, threatening our trip.  He then asked an interesting question,

“Where is all this water going?”

And I realized the answer and said, “Well, eventually, after traveling a long distance, it actually goes past our house in Omaha.”  He seemed rather excited by this answer.

And isn’t it startling?  To be many hundreds of miles from home, three days of travel, in a landscape so unlike our own, standing over water that is part of the system from which we drink and cook and clean while back at home.

Back in Lent our church’s worship focused on the spiritual practices we all need during this season of climate change.  And the theme of one Sunday was Watershed.  We need to cultivate the spiritual practice of paying attention to our watershed.

And here, a thousand miles from home, we were still in our watershed.  In a place where what happens in the local environment actually has an impact on where we live.  It was a stunning revelation for me and struck wonder in seven-year-old Sebastian.

As Ragan Suttefield wrote in the article that guided our Lenten series, “questions of watershed discipleship ask us to journey much farther into the depths of our place.”  Indeed.


421 South 36th Street, Omaha Nebraska, 68131
(Located at the corner of 36th and Harney Streets)






First Central Congregational Church