Please read this...This week...we're going to be a bit windy...

You'll find out about the pictures soon enough...just keep on reading...

This week, we're going to get a little windy. Call it catch-up time...

You may have noticed that last week's colyum was, well, somewhat lacking. Well, I hope you noticed. At the time I wrote the item, I was not feeling all that great. Honestly, it was quite a challenge to attempt to string a few words together into something that made even a little bit of sense. So, this week, I'm going to try to make it up to you.

Let's open with a bit of a follow up to something which I addressed last week: a caller who justifiably shared concerns about finding two deer which had been shot and just kind of left alongside the road. 

The whole thing didn't make much sense then, doesn't make much sense now. The caller was upset, and I could understand the anger. The story seemed to reflect contempt for the world around us by the culprit, or culprits, who slaughtered two of God's creatures and simply left them to rot alongside the road.

Late last week, we received another call from someone who wanted to know if our newspaper could take an article from another publication and reprint the item. In a word, the answer is "no." 

The caller initially wanted to know if I had read the article. At that point, the answer was no. The caller suggested that the article was well worth reading, and worth sharing with other folks, too.

Turned out the caller was right. And while we can't simply reprint the article, because it's not ours, I'm hoping that the writer (and the caller) won't mind if we share some excerpts.

The article was a commentary piece written by Les Winkeler that appeared in the Thursday, February 2, issue of The Southern Illinoisan newspaper. Perhaps you saw, and read the piece, which was accompanied by a headline which read: "Winter makes trash more visible."

Les Winkeler is an excellent writer. I particularly enjoy reading his commentaries, and thoughts, about the outdoors, the environment and what seems to be ongoing disdain by many of our political leaders for the work done by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. I'm hoping that he won't mind if I share a few of the words he wrote.

 Mr. Winkeler's February 2 commentary noted that we are in "the dead of winter" and that the "landscape is as barren as it will be for 2017. 

"That means just one thing – litter is never more visible than it is right now. It is a disgusting, inescapable part of life in Southern Illinois. Collectively, we are blessed to live in one of the prettiest, certainly most biologically diverse, parts of the state, and a significant minority have no qualms about trashing their homes."

He suggested that seeing a landscape littered with garbage "is a constant reminder that too many people among us care little for the Earth and its intrinsic beauty. There is nothing man has ever created that matches the natural beauty of our planet."

Furthermore, he declared: "Every time one of your cans or wrappers hits the ditch, it is an insult to our planet and those of us who appreciate the wonders of nature." To which this writer simply says: Amen.

Mr. Winkeler called on state legislators from Southern Illinois to take action: "You can introduce legislation that imposes serious fines on litter bugs." Such action would generate revenue for local government. And, one would hope anyway, cut down on the trash. 

Quite honestly, in spite of the best efforts of Mr. Winkeler, and many, many others, I don't expect anything to happen. Too many people see it as their God-given right to trash the world which God gave them.

Speaking of theology, let's ease out of this week's sermon with a bit of a reflection about something that I literally stumbled across while taking a walk on one of the last days of January.

I was walking on the walking path at the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro. Walking on a walking path always seems like a good thing, unless you don't want to stay on the beaten path, which is another issue entirely.

Anyway, at one point on the path, I came across the word "GOD" in the gravel on the walking path. A few steps later, the word "IS" appeared. A couple of more steps, and there was the word "REAL." A few steps later: the image of a heart. And, just in case you were wondering: No. I did not see any burning bushes...not that I would expect the Almighty to have any other special messages to share with a mere journalist...

I guess you never know what you might see, just by going for a walk...

*** more thing this week...shameless plug time...again...Friends of Stinson book sale...this weekend...Stinson Memorial Library...stop by and find a good book, or two, or three, to help you get through a cold winter's night, or two, or three...


...there, hope I made up for last week...

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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