Monday, July 29, 2002

Garden of Eden in Wisconsin
I was able to combine enjoyment of my two favorite Catholic Classics this weekend, the Psalms and the Book of Nature. We went camping at Perrot State Park in Trempealeau, WI, on the Mississippi river. On Sunday morning I walked from our campsite to a picnic bench near the Interpretative Center that overlooks Trempealeau Bay facing west. Before me the Trempealeau river wound its way through the islands that fill the bay on its way to the River. To the left Mt. Trempealeau arose, looking dark bluish green in the shade of Brady Bluff. Above it was the waning moon, three-quarters full. The air was filled with the sounds of cardinals, blue jays, crows, redwing blackbirds, and many twittering birds that I could not identify. The bluffs across the river toward Winona were semi-shrouded in a brownish-purple haze. I sat their reading the psalms from my Christian Prayer book. The Psalms were from Sunday, Week One, so I was able to meditate on the Canticle from Daniel. "Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord; Praise and exalt him above all for ever!"
At one point a large flock of small birds arose from the island in front of me and flew off to the north. "All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord!" Later I looked up from my book to see Mt. Trempealeau suddently glowing bright green as sunlight peaked over Brady Bluff.
A question that occurred to me as I was reading the psalms was what would the Israelites have thought if they had suddenly been transported to this location from their semi-arid hills in the Holy Land. A city near Trempealeau considers itself the location of the Garden of Eden. I find it hard to argue.

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