Friday, April 20, 2012

Knapsack 4-26

Notes From My Knapsack 4-26-12

Jeff Gill


A Bucket List right in the breadbasket



Leigh Ann and Marci of the Granville Fellowship asked me last week if I would consider putting together a program for them next fall (sooner than you think!) on a "Licking County Bucket List."


That took effectively no "talking-into" time, and they have my "yes." But just a couple of days later I open my Sentinel and see that my colleague and occasional competition in scribbling, Don Havens (first place in the Ohio Newspaper Association's Hooper Awards for column writing among papers of our size, 2011; I got third), is looking for "bucket list" recommendations.


A couple of thoughts occurred to me: one, that the Lad who begins high school next year will not experience the tender mercies of Prof. Havens in the classroom, darn it; and two, this works out nicely!


For those of you who haven't seen all the movies made by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, or have missed this metaphor, a "bucket list" is what you scribble down on a piece of paper of all the places and/or things you want to do before you . . . kick the bucket. See Paris in the springtime, Autumn in New York, all that.


What would I put on a Licking County "must see" list, with or without the motivation of mortality? Here's some brief notes, which will be the basis for my Granville Fellowship talk TBA, but for which Don will qualify next fall!


The Newark Earthworks, obviously, but in particular, to see a moonrise along the northerly end of its 18.6 year cycle, unfortunately not until 2024 (and a few near approximations in 2023 & 2025). Stay healthy, my friends! Until then, if you get a chance to watch a sunrise at the Great Circle, standing near the eastern tip of Eagle Mound inside about June 21, looking along the left side of the Grand Gateway about 6 am. Awesome. (Or just come at 10 am on May 5 to the Great Circle for an intro!)


Also in the awesomeness category is the West Courtroom on the second floor of the County Courthouse in Newark. Paintings, stained glass, mosaic, woodwork, brass and gilt and just a feast for the eye, with the majesty of the law all around. Call in advance for permission to enter.


Naturally speaking, the glory of Blackhand Gorge is a geological peculiarity that just sort of sneaks up on you until you get there. The water line is the lowest spot in Licking County (highest is west of Fredonia), with towering sandstone walls where once petroglyphs from millenia past peered down at the canoe, train, or interurban passenger.


South of there, atop Flint Ridge, not just for the precious prehistoric mineral and state gemstone, but to wander back in the woods of the State Memorial, sprinkled with the "redwoods of Ohio," tulip poplar; their orange and pink and salmon and blossoms falling in May from their sunward perch a hundred feet above in the canopy. If you are blessed, you might see a pileated woodpecker flash past, white and black and slash of red.


Then to the unnatural nature of Cranberry Bog, open to all one day in June, slowly disappearing, a floating island of pre-glacial bog on the southern shore of Buckeye Lake. Walk along the path with a guide from your boat, feel the "earth" shake beneath you, see the meat-eating (well, bug-eating) pitcher plants.


Then motor slowly across the canal-era waters that forced up this bog from the bottom as it filled; see the sunset over the waters, and dock at any one of a number of places where a meal and music can wrap a bucket-worthy day.


It's not all, but it's a start!


Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; tell him your nearby bucketacious spots at or follow Knapsack @Twitter.

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