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Month: April 2009 (page 2 of 2)

the love of asking questions

In doing some quick research for a faculty workshop I’ll be leading, I stumbled up Professor Michael Wesch’s acceptance speech for U.S. Professor of the Year. What strikes me about his short speech is what he says about the importance of asking questions–the real questions of our lives, the ones that matter.

a clean-up day and the case of the mysterious skull

Earth Scouts had their first “official” clean-up day today. The day was a beautiful one weather-wise for our adventures. Four families showed up and everyone worked hard for a couple of hours cleaning up the Van Horn Woods in Plainfield. The kids filled many bags full of bottles, cans, plastic bags, snack wrappers, etc. We sorted the materials into recyclable and non-recyclable items and we even brought home the recyclables to be properly thrown out.

[singlepic=375,300,300]  A mystery skullIn our clean-up adventures we had some other fun sightings. We came across a tepee-like structure that was built entirely out of sticks and logs. We also found a few skeletal remains–don’t worry they were animal bones! A skull, pelvic bone, and some vertebrae were found from what we think was a deer. Mike also found part of a skull from some type of animal that no one could figure out what it was due to the weird “horn” shaped bones on what we think was the top of the skull. (So, if anyone knows what this might be from the picture on the right, please let us know!)

It was great to see the kids having so much fun while at the same time they were working hard to help make our planet a little nicer. I can’t wait for the next clean-up day!

a stroll and a church at sunset

After a blizzard this April morning, we took an evening walk. Most of the snow had melted away. Just down the street from us is an old church and graveyard that dates back to 1864. I took the advantage of the evening light to create a couple images.

St. Mary’s is one of the oldest buildings in Mokena and was the first Roman Catholic church in the area. [singlepic=366,375,375]After Mokena was settled by German immigrants in 1860, nine Catholic families came together in the midst of the Civil War to raise $1,400 needed to build with their own hands this one room church in their classic white wooden frame style. It was completed in 1864, just before then end of the war between the states and 16 years before the town was incorporated. The church was later restored in 1971.

Now it sits quietly, set back from Wolf Road (a former Native American fur-trading route). After using this modest building for nearly a 100 years, in the late 50s and early 60s the St. Mary’s congregation built a new site in Mokena on the other side of town, leaving the old St. Mary’s Church to the solitude of the trees out of which rises its steeple. A real sense of history comes over you as you stroll this site, but the quietness of the small church and the yard of graves surrounding it gives an eerie feeling, as well. Many of the stones–cracked and fallen–seem forgotten by time.

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