‘Ring out, wild bells,’ as the New Year dawns

Featured image: Fresh snow on Cowles Bog.

Cogitation 1/179 Friday 4 January 2019   This is blog #179 since I started publishing Cogitations.

One by one I’ve posted a first draft of part of my week, shared a thought or two on the present with some reference to the past, and aimed for a word of hope for the journey ahead.

It’s good to have a fresh start in the New Year.

Past, Present, Future. Live it Now.

My shoe print on the Lake Michigan beach section of the Cowles Bog walk.

 

Ring out the old

The language is dated. The context more than a century old. Still, the sentiment rings true to the hour. That’s what I hear in this New Year’s quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892):

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, / The flying cloud, the frosty light: / The year is dying in the night; / Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new, / Ring, happy bells, across the snow; / The year is going, let him go; / Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out a slowly dying cause, / And ancient forms of party strife; / Ring in the nobler modes of life, / With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin, / The faithless coldness of the times; / Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes, / But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood, / The civic slander and the spite; / Ring in the love of truth and right, / Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease; / Ring out the narrowing lust of gold; / Ring out the thousand wars of old, / Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free, / The larger heart, the kindlier hand; / Ring out the darkness of the land; / Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Reaching back even further, I find a startling spark of truth in this statement of Francis Bacon (1561-1626): “Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New.”

Whether past time or current time, there’s no escaping time’s untidy and nasty sum of falsehood and dross.

Bacon again, “”Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.”  In other words, engage the day’s challenge positively, do what you can, be who you are, put a good breakfast to work, and at the end of the day face all that’s unfinished with the knowledge that adversity can be bathed in blessing. Bacon’s thought makes me happy for the Old Testament, too. It puts bad on the run.

 

The blessing of an end of year walk

This week we walked with friends on Cowles Bog, a part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, between Chesterton and Michigan City.

Laura Kraybill, Andrea Kraybill , Ellen and Nelson Kraybill, and Marty and I walked the almost five-mile Cowles Bog trail. Years and years ago, on New Years’s Day, the six of us had walked The Pumpkinvine Nature Trail from Middlebury to Shipshewana, Indiana, before its official opening. Here we’re pausing on the shore of Lake Michigan. Squinting, we could see a faint outline of Chicago’s skyline.

The partial US government shutdown meant I could not verify details about an evergreen tree at Cowles Bog in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Is it a jack pine? Why is this pine tree the only one of its kind left in this location? How did these pines get there in the first place? It may have had something to do with the last ice age, I remember from a guided walk ages ago.

Cowles Bog is a wonderful place to visit. It’s like stepping into an ancient time, where melting glaciers left their mark, here on the southern tip of Lake Michigan. Thankfully, one of the pioneers in ecology and ecology of succession, Dr Henry Chandler Cowles, devoted time and expertise to study and preserve this 8,000,000-year-old fen (a fen is alkaline, a bog is acidic; Cowles Bog has both characteristics). Look it up online.

It was sunny, cold, and the three steep parts of the path were more challenging than the last time we had been there. Wonder why? Winter? Yes, but the many moons that have passed since the last time we went enter the picture, too. We’ll do the walk, and others in the area, again in different season. Food and coffee at Brewster’s Restaurant in New Buffalo, Michigan, capped a fine day out.

 

 

Roundup

Sign, west side of South Bend: NORTH/SOUTH CONTINENTAL DIVIDE

 

Among the wild ones at our new home in Goshen

 

Literary lives and who dun it?

Books I read this week. Would love to give a commentary, but space prevents doing more than a brief summary: Goldreich writes about a book club of six professional women engaged in the everyday drama of extended and close relationships, including their growing up years. Interesting read of their lives as foils of the characters in the books they discuss. Grimes, on the other hand, takes us to places in Cornwall that we know first hand. The mystery masterfully reveals characters, describes seaside settings, and finally solves a four-year-old murder and two that have just taken place. The Lamorna Wink is a cozy pub.

 

Walks to date

2018: 1,391 miles, 2,239 kilometers on foot.

1989-2018: 36,600 miles, 58,902 kilometers on foot;

Distance around the Equator is 24,901 miles; 40,075 kilometers. Appears we are nearing the half-way point of our second time walking the distance around the world. As of Thursday, I’ve a new pair of boots lined up.

Let’s go!

-John

5 thoughts on “‘Ring out, wild bells,’ as the New Year dawns

    1. Happy New Year to both of you, too. Been wearing the boots. Getting ready to hop across the pond and hit the ground walking. See you later this year. Best!

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  1. Happy New Year John and Marty! Wow, walking around the world 1.5 times is amazing! May you enjoy a happy, healthy year ahead! Ruth and Jim

    Like

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