We had a nice break and a good visit with my parents over the last four days. Friday, Will, Jeanne and I took a little excursion up to Wisconsin's Door County. We did some tourist stuff, visiting some little shops, ate lunch along Green Bay, and then headed over to the Lake Michigan side of things. I've mentioned this before, I'm drawn to big landscapes like the Great Lakes and Lake Michigan is great. Granted, it doesn't have the awesome geological formations that can be found on Lake Superior, but it is still a great lake. We stopped at Cave Point Park and walked along the limestone formation that is part of the Niagra Escarpment; this is the same limestone formation that on the eastern most point forms Niagra Falls, on the western edge it can be seen as a ridge that forms the Door Peninsula then runs southward forming the eastern edge of Lake Winnebago and the famous Horicon Marsh (second only to the Everglades in the size of a freshwater marsh). It's rather easy to find fossils embedded in the limestone and we found some sea fans and sponges. We watched the waves crash into the caves and wished we had brought along the kayaks so we could have done some exploring as well. But this trip did provide us the opportunity to plan a longer future trip.
While I'm drawn to open spaces, I'm also always on the look out for examples of God's presence in nature and how those examples of the natural world can help shape our understanding of the natural world as well as our faith. (For example, this past spring I wrote about how we can learn about faith from Canada geese.) This particular day I found two examples of how creation can demonstrate faith for all of us. The first was the algae that was growing on the limestone just at the point where the force of the waves hitting shore was the greatest. Because the area is relatively shallow it has the greatest amount of solar energy, something that's pretty important if you're a plant. Nearshore areas like this also tend to have high concentrations of nutrients as they mix from running off the land and as the currents and waves keep them close to shore. That's the upside. The downside of course is that the area is constantly bombarded by waves. I sat and watched as the waves tossed the algae filaments back and forth, watched as the waves crashed on top of the colonies. This algae was lush, long, dark green, and thriving. It occurred to me that perhaps we need to be more like these algae. As life gets tough and beats down on us, we need to open ourselves up to God, show some faith that as we weather the waves we can still grow, still have lush, thriving lives. Algae are the basis for all life in an aquatic system. Similarly, faith is largely the basis for a full life and for developing a relationship with God.
I'll write a bit more about the other example later this week.