Live blogging from Lake Vermillion…
Autumn’s brush long dry
Warm Winter’s canvas still brown
Spring don’t miss your cue
Yes, I’m supposed to be working. But I skipped out for a couple hours for an urban hike to the Daly Plaza Farmers Market, into Millennium Park (where a really wacky orchestra was assembling and warming up), and through Laurie Garden and Grant Park this afternoon in Chicago. Along the way I happened into the Chicago Cultural Center and listened a bit to some students reading short stories.
One of my favorite spots was an empty stage in Grant Park. The stage where President Obama made his big speech on election night. Kind of cool to stand there and imagine so many thousands of joyful tears shed out there across the vast lawn along the lake shore. There happened to be one empty chair sitting there on the stage, nothing else. Doesn’t matter if you love him or not, it’s still a cool little spot in history.
Yesterday evening walked along the Chicago Riverwalk to a reception (forgot the camera). Got lost, but loved it. Be home soon.
(more photos on Flickr.)
On our recent vacation at Sylvan Lake in Paha Sapa, I was very surprised to find logging in progress within a few hundred feet of the lake. Right on the Harney Peak trailhead, and around that entire area, I found swaths of fresh cut stumps, logs, branches and debris, all connected by muddy ruts and tracks from equipment. The trail itself was torn up very badly by this activity.
This was my first time as a witness to logging. It isn’t exactly “clear-cutting,” where entire areas of the forest are removed all at once. But, it did make a much bigger destructive path than I had imagined/hoped.
One stump that I spent some time next to revealed just how much life and time was destroyed to make some paper and decks. You don’t get a real feel for the size and age of the stump shown above, until you know that I carefully counted 238 rings on that stump. 238 years of wisdom and life, chopped down.
I’m a treehugger, in the purest sense of the word, so this was painful. I was particularly stumped by the mess left behind. The track ruts from the equipment, the branches strewn about seemingly waiting to dry up and invite raging fire, and the scores of smaller trees that seem to have been felled and left behind.
It became my meditation for the evening, and continued the following morning. Sitting in destruction, death. And in life and beauty. All around me. I noticed how even the stumps and killed trees where beautiful in ways that I wouldn’t have noticed if they were still standing. It was an eclipse, an unexpected darkness. But also a new sunrise, a new beginning. And all of it was beautiful in the sadness. I found peace in not judging the loggers or the forest managers or you and me for using the paper these wise ones became. I found peace in just enjoying the beauty and the learning in the moment. And I found a window into deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of it all. The responsibility, the sorrow, the anticipation, the confusion, the new dawn, the forgiveness–all were mine, and ours.
Then, on the way down, I decided to run the treacherous paths cut by the loggers. It was a bit dangerous and very exhilarating.
[update 6/29: Corey has probably solved the logging mystery. Read the comments…]
After hiking and Mount Rushmore (see part one), it was off to Colorado. We made it Paul and Carrie’s in Johnstown to see the new twins and have birthday cake for Mesa. Pretty crazy house, with all those babes.
The kids had a big blast hanging with lots of cousins around Longmont. Huge thanks to Hotel Ribbing for putting us up (and putting up with us) for so long. We really skipped the planner, and just went with the flow of each day as it came at us. It was great.
Uncle Carl took Hope and Zoey fishing, and we brought home two catfish. I hadn’t cleaned a cat in years, but eventually it was mission accomplished. We all hit the Denver Zoo one day too. Pretty amazing place, as far as zoos go. I’m not a big fan of seeing all those cages, but this was worth it.
Zoey hung with Dad for a few hours Thursday afternoon. She thought it would be so cool to be with me at my office–which lasted for about 13 minutes. She did hang out under my desk for a while listening to iTunes. So, after I gave in to her “please take me to the park Daddy. I don’t like waiting,” we went for a walk to Falls Park for some ice cream. The cafe selling that ice cream closed about 12 seconds before we got there, but we still had fun, and met a few new friends along the way.