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Tales of the Sweetwater Seas

Before you leave Michigan (for something flimsier than employment reasons) read Jerry Dennis' The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas. This luminous work is part travelogue, part natural and cultural history that only makes living in this region all the more sweeter.

Dennis, himself a Michigan native, intersperses his tale of sailing a former tourist schooner, the Malabar, out of the Lakes to Bar Harbor, Maine (another sub heaven) with stories and information about invasive species, Indians, weather and specifically storms, fishing, Chicago and the forest fire it overshadowed, the "Mighty Mac," shipwrecks, and just about any other topic related to Lakes HOMES.

The writing is personable and enticing. I had the pleasure of reading most of it while camping outside of Traverse City about two months ago and could recall either by memory or while presently there some of the sights Dennis describes.

EVERY Michigan native should read this love letter to our most prominent natural resource. Really! I don't get paid to say this, just like the three visitors to this blog aren't paid to visit. (Ahem, check's in the mail). Honest! Fall would be an opportune time to delve into your culture, people. Then again, this would make a wonderful Christmas gift. According to our corporate masters it's time to start thinking about that.


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"Therefore whoever is not illuminated by such great splendors in created things is blind. Anyone who is not awakened by such great outcries is deaf. Anyone who is not led from such great effects to give praise to God is mute. Anyone who does not turn to the First Principle as a result of such signs is a fool.Therefore open your eyes, alert your spiritual ears, unlock your lips and apply your heart, so that in all the creatures you may see, hear, praise, love and adore, magnify and honor God, lest the entire world rise up against you." -- St. Bonaventure, Itinerarium mentis in Deum

Dirty Hands Can Save You from Hell

"Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place." --Pope Francis, Laudato Si
     Wonder and awe abound in the natural world for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

     Perhaps we are caught short by a vibrant purple emanating from the petals of a wild lupine. We might stare wide-eyed at the lazy circles of a turkey vulture soaring on thermal air currents. Even the most agoraphobic city-dweller can find something beautiful about a landscape even if it's simply the warm and varied red, yellow, and orange of a sunset glowing on a building.

     "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" asserts the Psalmist. If that verse is true, why don't we live like it? Why are we flabbergasted trying to come up with the names of the many plants and animals we pass by everyday?

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The 11th Hour

If you haven't celebrated Christmas by now, you're not likely to start. Conversely, you don't have to quite let it go yet.

Fight the ahistoricity! It's a feast of twelve days and depending on how you count, this is eleven or Epiphany Eve.

In the Christian East, tonight is the vigil of Theophany.

Theophany/Epiphany are two different sides of the same coin.

The West honors the Magi--who represent all of us goyim--and the miracle at the wedding at Cana (water for wine, anyone?)

The East honors Jesus' baptism, and in more minor ways his circumcision and the Magi, too.

It's all about a manifestation, a revealing, a shining forth. The Trinity is revealed (at the baptism), salvation is revealed to all the world (the Magi), the start of Jesus' public ministry (Cana).

Just as the Incarnation honors all bodies, as the Son suddenly was born with one, so Theophany honors all the Earth's waters.

Paralleling the Jewish Festival of Lights, this perfectly winds down th…