Monday, September 20, 2010

The Northeast Kingdom

My daughter and I took a road trip this past weekend to explore the upper Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  While our primary objective was to visit the Abenaki Clan of the Hawk grounds, we were also hoping to catch sight of a moose or two, but the only wildlife we saw was a rafter of turkeys.

T & Sally

We took Sally along, which made the trip a bit more adventurous.

Natural Spring Water

We stopped at this spring water access to refill a few water bottles. The water was cold and refreshing. Notice the date of 1892 on the side of the concrete reservoir.  Vermont has several public water accesses along its back roads.

Red Sky Trading

We passed by this quaint little country store and just had to turn around to check it out. Everything, from food items to a wide array of collectibles and antiques, was displayed in a folksy and artistic manner.

Amish Peaches

The Amish peaches smelled too wonderful to resist, and they were the best tasting we've ever had.

Delectable Sweets

They also offered homemade cakes, pies, and cookies, as well as jams, pickles, and even free range eggs.

Lake Willoughby

There was no cell phone signal, and we didn't bring a GPS, so I took a couple of wrong turns. But we might have otherwise missed the majestic view of Lake Willoughby had we been less adventurous.

Clan of the Hawk

After getting back on track and stopping by a large general store that was akin to a country Wal-Mart, we finally found our way to the Clan of the Hawk grounds where the Abenaki hold an annual pow wow.

Stone Labyrinth

No one was around, but the property is open to the public. We briefly stepped into the Welcome Center cabin, peeked into the locked Chief Looking Glass Museum, browsed the non-denominational chapel and bookstore, and walked across an open field to the stone labyrinth. The labyrinth is considered a sacred place of healing. There was also a small altar where people can place a small offering to the Creator. There were pouches, glass stones, bracelets, tokens, and a small wooden flute.

Prayer Tree

We noticed some small red pouches hanging in a tree nearby as well. The pouches are prayer bundles that people hang to leave their prayers in the sacred place.

There seems to be something about having a tangible place or person to go to in order to have our spiritual and physical needs met, or going through a ritual to make things more 'real'. We tend to be drawn to the mystical. It's one of the reasons some people have difficulty with Christianity. It's not mystical, and although some people call a church building 'the house of God', it in and of itself has no power to heal or transform, nor does it magnify any spiritual energies. And as much as we'd like to think we can and must do something, there is nothing we can do to earn our way to Heaven or appease an angry god. Jesus Christ offered Himself up as a sacrifice in our place to pay the penalty for our transgressions. He has done the work. All we must do is have faith and believe the things He has revealed.  "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast"  (Ephesians 2:8, 9). I'm so glad He sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us.

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