God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Spirit Lake or Devil's Lake

Devil's Lake State Park, WI
Devil's Lake State Park, WI
Devil's Lake State Park

This weekend while I was on Halloween Break as my son and I like to call the vacation days he gets the last weekend in October.  We decided to take a trip to the Wisconsin Dells.  On the way, we stopped at Devil's Lake State Park.  A number of people had told me how beautiful it was, so we decided to hike along the lake.  
At one point on the hike above the bluff my Brother-in-law remarked about how still and quiet it was at the peak.  How he had being hearing birds and forest noises for the whole trip up but when he reached the peak it was still and quiet.  I said that maybe this was a sacred site, a spot where earth and heaven touch and you can just sense God’s presence.  We then began talking about how there are thin places in the world and how in the United States some of these thin places have been renamed Devil’s Lake.  Our ancestors believed there was one way to God and the Native American practices deemed not from God. 
Devil's Lake State Park, WI
When we got home, I wanted to check and see if my guess about the name of Devil’s Lake was accurate.  Diane Pillsbury on the park website writes: “Native Americans have been at the park since the glaciers receded over 10,000 years ago. The Ho-Chunk name for the lake is Tawacunchukdah or Sacred Lake, which may have been mistaken for an evil connotation and translated as Devil's Lake. The Ho-Chunks maintain that the bluffs were created during a fierce battle between the thunderbirds and the water spirits. Mound locations seem to confirm this belief. A 150-foot bird mound on the southeastern shore of the lake represents the upper world. Bear and panther mounds on the north end of the lake, represent the opposing lower world.”
Devil's Lake State Park, WI
So we took a lake called Spirit Lake or Sacred Lake and turned it into Devil’s Lake.  Yet the energy of this spot still speaks to people of the sacredness of the earth.  This lake and trails still remind people of the beauty of creation.  Even those who are not religious notice a beauty and stillness to this park that once was used as a sacred space.  It’s at moments like these when I stop to say a psalm like 104 
10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills, 11 giving drink to every wild animal; the wild asses quench their thirst. 12 By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches. 13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. 14 You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth, 15 and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart.16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. 17 In them the birds build their nests; the stork has its home in the fir trees. 18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the coneys. 19 You have made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. 20 You make darkness, and it is night, when all the animals of the forest come creeping out. 21 The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. 22 When the sun rises, they withdraw and lie down in their dens. 23 People go out to their work and to their labor until the evening. 24 O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 

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