The sun was shining this morning, and I didn’t have anywhere I had to be. I finally took a walk on the trail next to the Mississippi. Wow.
The weather could not have been better. A small part of the trail was flooded, but that added to the scenic beauty this morning. I was close enough to touch two mallards taking an early morning bath. While I am not a fan of birds in general, I appreciated them, along with the red-winged blackbird perched along the railroad tracks.
I briefly thought about going across the street to St. Anthony’s for worship this morning. Instead I worshiped along the river, just me and God. I knew I wouldn’t be going to Gloria Dei before this morning. My church lady job is ending on Thursday, the tone has been tense during the past week, and I simply needed a break from those lately suffocating walls.
I was also going to a four hour CEW meeting this afternoon.
I enjoy most aspects of religious volunteering and service, but as a friend pointed out so eloquently a few days ago, there’s a big difference between faith/spirituality and organized religion.
I have seen the ugly side of organized religion but I do not condemn organized religion as a whole. I just have a problem with putting the pomp and circumstance ahead of the true meaning of what it means to be a Christian or member of another faith tradition: to love others and serve on behalf of good causes.
Perhaps the largest benefit to organized religion is the community of support it provides. But the members must be real and supportive. Some churches don’t have that authenticity.
While we need community support to keep us going, we also need quiet alone time to meditate and take a deep breath or two. That’s what this morning was all about. I needed to get out into the open air and explore a new part of my new home.
I learned some tidbits from Davenport’s history. We served a key location in the trail of slaves traveling from southern Missouri toward freedom. Bix Beiderbecke was beloved by Louis Armstrong and other well known jazz musicians. And he died before he turned 30. Who knew? I didn’t.
The area between the fountain and the freight house used to contain a large community pool. The all-white pool finally opened up to blacks in the 1960s – but the blacks had their one day of the week just for them, and the pool was drained and refilled the next day for the whites. So a family near downtown opened their pool to all races every day of the week.
Lots of people on the trail smiled and said hi. And the trail is longer than I knew. It’s paved with a yellow dotted line down the middle, just in case the traffic wants to meander to the wrong side of the road.
I love discovering new sites, smells, and facts. I saw a man sitting in one of the seats facing the band shell in LeClaire Park. I wonder if he is homeless. Sad to be homeless but yet he gets to take in the entire day in the sun. I don’t envy his situation, but I envy his free time.
My walk lasted just a little over an hour, and it was reinvigorating. Just what I needed. I (mostly) let go of my worries for that hour and enjoyed the newness of the trail along the Mississippi. I hope to take walks like this more often. When I am unable to do so, I plan to close my eyes, take a deep breath and visualize this morning’s walk.
“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”
~George Washington Carver