Stay-Go-Be-Do #8

Post 40/2020 Saturday 12 December . . . O Holy Night, a French Christmas carol (1847), resounds through the ages: “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, / For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” What? Where? Really? In 2020? Hope alive for a weary world right now? It’s a message Christians take to heart in Advent waiting. As in the hymn, On Jordan’s banks the Baptist’s cry (1837), that speaks of the anticipation of Jesus’ Advent: “Stretch forth your hand, our health restore, and make us rise to fall no more. Oh, let your face upon us shine and fill the world with love divine.”

Sadly, the news of the day reveals less than wonder. Yet there is hope. The thrill of hope. Hope for the whole world. In the US we’ve been subjected to messages that revolve round and round and round like a scratch on a vinyl record. The kindest thing I can say to such message bearers is that properly tuned minds do not work that way.

Our physical world is getting a tune-up. Our political world is getting a shake-up. Our spiritual world is waiting, expectant for a new infusion of hope. While weariness lingers, I am so refreshed and inspired by the proclamation of Jesus’ birth, as in the hymn, Where is this stupendous stranger (1765): “Where is this stupendous stranger? Prophets, shepherds, kings, advise! Lead me to my master’s manger, show me where my Savior lies.”

I’m here to say that nature has been kind to us this year. We’ve found ourselves richly blessed in visiting parks, preserves, and open areas far and wide. The far part was an early year visit to Cornwall, UK. We came home early because of the coronavirus pandemic that circled the world.

At home I’ve been surprised by all the in-between, liminal really, outdoor natural areas we’ve come across. That is, the swamps and wetlands that quietly bind up space between land and water. Wow, I’m seeing them in a new light, as part of what it takes to manage and heal nature.

Our walks to early December have covered 1,300 miles. Even from my few steps following aortic valve replacement in August to ongoing almost daily walks, including a 12-mile walk during cardiac rehabilitation in October, we’ve been blessed with health, contentment and anticipation of the time we can safely burst out of our bubble.

Enough of that, here’s a recount of activities this week.

Boot Lake County Park

Boot Lake drew us back for the second time this fall, again, after an errand that took us to Elkhart. It is located north of the city, almost at the border with Michigan. The weather was, as one might say, perfect, though the parks department has closed the restroom/toilet: “Due to Covid 19 restrooms are closed indefinitely.”

“This library was created to allow park patrons access to educational materials and forgotten, but needed items: dog leashes/collars, waste bags, bug spray, etc. Feel free to borrow or donate items.” Dedicated to Elkhart County Parks by Lynn Bradley in memory of Burwyn Bradley (2-12-20).
We came across this hand-painted rock. The reverse says, in part, “If found post a picture to Found Rocks.” We found two such holiday-themed rocks.
Ah, to walk on an autumn blanket of fallen leaves. All senses refreshed.
A few swans in the distance are gathered on Boot Lake. This is the area where we’ve seen Sandhill cranes, but this time we heard the cranes on Buttonbush Lake, near the entry gate.

A long walk in Goshen

Crossing Goshen College campus.
Passing by a home near Goshen Hospital.
Heading north on the Goshen Millrace path.
Mesmerized by Sycamore trees standing out, if precariously, in leafless form.
We were alerted by other walkers to this pair of eagles at the northern end of the Millrace, near the John Mishler sculpture.
The Goshen Public Library is always a welcome stop, though patrons are advised to keep their visit to 30 minutes.
We passed this fairy garden on 8th Street on our return home from what proved to be a 7.5 mile walk.
Almost home, no need to stop and sit a spell, just a glance to embrace the scene with a big smile.
I think this could be a squirrel’s nest; tree on the Goshen Greencroft campus.
May the gifts above the canopy to the main entrance to Greencroft Goshen Healthcare be a harbinger of people soon getting a preventive Covid jab and the gift of a return to in-person visits.
Home again, the phrase calls to mind the Indiana song: “Back home again in Indiana / And it seems that I can see / The gleaming candlelight still shining bright / Thro’ the sycamores for me / The new mown hay sends all its fragrance / From fields I used to roam / When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash / Then I long for my Indiana home.”

Elkhart County River Preserve Park

The canal on the left joints the Elkhart River that flows through Goshen and ends up joining the St Joseph River at Island Park in the city of Elkhart and from thence the St Joseph flows through South Bend (the river’s most southerly point) and onward, emptying into Lake Michigan in St Joseph, Michigan.
What this is I do not know. An orienteering marker?
A willing habitat restoration helper, the beaver has been busy.

A plaintive wave

Two unidentified plants wave to us as we pass by in this field, part of River Preserve County Park.

Be thrilled with hope. Be filled with childhood wonder. Be.

-John

5 thoughts on “Stay-Go-Be-Do #8

  1. How wonderful to see so many walking paths in nature so close to home. Certainly we have the time to explore natural areas close to home. And as you speak of hope-just as the star shone in the darkness that night, may His light lift us up this Christmas and fill us with hope.
    Kaye

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    1. Indeed, Stanley, the chill pervades and seeps where it will. The decaying forest leaves do fill one with pleasure. Thanks!

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  2. Happy Advent! Glad you and Marty will log more than 1300 miles this year! Thanks for the photos. I always liked the melody “Back Home Again in Indiana”!

    Monty

    May the God of Wonder be with you, delighting you with the beauty of sunrise and the majesty of sunset, with the song of the bird and the fragrance of the flower.

    >

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