Thursday, July 17, 2014

Missing ‘Time on the Water’

Several men wet their lines in the Fox River near Slade Avenue Park in Elgin, Illinois, as the sun sets on July 9, 2014. | Credit: Ted Schnell

Sometimes the things that matter require sacrifice.

Some may scoff, but I have found that fishing is a spiritual activity in many respects.

Just as water is a focal point for life, a lake or river that is habitable to fish and other aquatic life is a focal point for the beauty of God’s creation. The reflections and the motion of the waves have an allure that is almost hypnotic, demanding inward reflection that can bring clarity to clouded thoughts, peace to troubled minds, comfort to broken hearts. Such is has been my experience when fishing, times I have used as much as for prayer as for pleasure.

I have not been fishing since late summer or fall in 2010, just a few scant months before my first layoff in late 2010.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wildwood Revisited: We've Changed Along with Our Fields of Dreams

A white-tail deer pauses beneath a willow tree that stands in a pasture area that once was home to a large pond in Burnidge Forest Preserve, west of Elgin, Illinois, on Thursday, July 3, 2014. | Credit: Ted Schnell

Childhood friends reunite after nearly four decades

The 1989 film Field of Dreams starred Kevin Costner as an Iowa farmer who follows the mantra, “If you build it, he will come,” building a baseball field amid his crop of corn, ultimately to recapture a piece of his childhood with his father.

Twenty-five years after that film’s release, three friends returned to their fields of dreams — the former pastures and farmland now known as Burnidge Forest Preserve, west of Elgin, Illinois. We had no need to build anything, for the fields in which we played and formulated our dreams for the future are still there.

Granted, things have changed. Thick brush and small woods of 30- to 40-year-old oaks, shagbark hickory and myriad other trees now cover the slopes of gentle hillsides once covered with waist-high grass that rolled like waves on a breezy day.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Not much to celebrate this Fourth
Credit: Beverly & Pack,

Independence loses meaning when you’re not working

Before I begin, I want to express my greatest respect and admiration for those who have fought for this country, who have sacrificed their lives, or were willing to put their lives on the line, to preserve our freedom.

You did not fail.

I fear, however, that many others have, from the citizenry to corporate America to those we have elected to public office.

That is why I find it incredibly difficult to celebrate a holiday centered on the theme of our nation’s independence, when in fact we live in a nation where much of the citizenry has been left little more than indentured servants. We’ve sucked fast to the empty promise of an American dream that’s really a marketing gimmick to get people to spend, not save.