Scotland’s dark waters…and dark times elsewhere

Yesterday morning I had the NPR news on in the background, and I jerked my head up when I heard the reporter say, “The once light amber lochs found in the Scottish Highlands now look more like dark Guinness Stout.”

It turns out that this is part of a phenomenon noticed all over northern Europe and North America…and it’s not a bad thing. Here’s the link, if you’d like to listen (a little over three minutes).

It doesn’t taste like Guinness Stout, does it?

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the States. It’s a holiday that for many Americans is inextricably intertwined with football. Along with the televised games that begin in the early afternoon and go on well into the evening, for high schools it’s frequently the morning when the last game of the year is played, often against a traditional rival. (My father still has the ball—adorned by the now disappearing autographs of his teammates—that he was awarded as captain of the winning team in the 1940 Wilby-Crosby Thanksgiving Day game.)

Despite dad’s youthful skill in the sport, we tend not to be one of those football families. We gather, drink decent wine, eat vast quantities of turkey, stuffing, and fixin’s, catch up with each others’ lives, meet the new boyfriends and girlfriends, and welcome guests who couldn’t get home to their own families.

An evening or two before Thanksgiving every year, our town has an ecumenical service in one of the five white clapboard churches lining our New England main street. I’ve been asked a few times to read the Governor’s proclamation formally appointing the date of the holiday. It’s almost always a version of the words written in 1936 by one of our state’s great governors, Wilbur Cross, in which he noted our need to be thankful, among other things, “…for the brotherly word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land….”

It’s sobering to read those words these days, and impossible to be thankful for that which does not exist. So this year I could only express joy and gratitude that we could be together, faith that things will change, and hope that enough of us will have the determination to make it so.

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