So You Don’t Have a Cross Country Ski Course in Your Backyard?

That must be tough. ūüôā


One of my favorite things about our home (or Chickadee Wood as Pam has named it) is that while we are located in the middle of a typical suburb, our backyard is connected to around 60 acres of wood thanks to a tree ranch and an undeveloped school forest (some schools in the Wisconsin have forests for doing things because this is Wisconsin and we care about the outdoors a lot in Wisconsin).

Our friendly, neighborhood barred owl.

A medium size forest in your backyard means a lot of positive things. It means that we have deer and wild turkeys that live and run through our backyard. It means that every now and then you look up and suddenly there is a wonderful barred owl landing in front of you.   It also means that when there is snow we get to walk out our back door and go cross country skiing.

Of course, I am not very good at cross country skiing – specifically I am quite slow. Still I can and do to go and I love that. This late snow (30″ in April is absurd) may be a pain in the butt, yet it also means that I get to go cross country skiing later in the day and with less layers. I am a big fan of that.

I bring this up because I believe people, and especially ministers, should love the place in which they live. One of the things that I believe helps a person to love where they live is to approach ones community as if you were a tourist. A tourist goes into a community looking for the interesting things within that community.¬†One of my favorite podcasts, 99% Invisible, has the motto “always read the plaque“. Jeff T, my friend and manager in chaplaincy, likes to tell those he manages to “walk slowly through the people”. Both sayings fit in nicely with loving the place where one is. Every place has something cool about it. A minister should do enough research to discover what those cool things are.

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