April 12, 2017, Prescott- Every major transportation route, from airlines to roads, seems to lead to Chicago, or at least within its magnetic sphere. For me, there is an added draw: The Baha’i House of Worship for North America, in Wilmette, north of the city. The House of Worship’s location, overlooking Lake Michigan, highlights the fascination I’ve long had, with the Great Lakes. I would frequently visit “the Temple”, regardless, but the lake is a draw, in itself. A few dips in its waters, as well as at Indiana Dunes and Fruitport, MI, have been a tonic, on a hot day. I have also been alongside Lake Erie, in Toledo, Cleveland and Erie, as well as Lake Superior, at Thunder Bay, Ontario.
The lakes are only part of what I have enjoyed about the east central region, between the Great Plains and the Atlantic Coast. Chicago, as problematic as its internecine battles have been, remains a majestic city. So, too, does St. Louis, especially with the Gateway Arch, and nearby Cahokia Mounds, highlighting the importance of the confluence of two great rivers. Speaking of which, Cairo, IL has a special place in my heart, marking the union of the Ohio and the Mississippi. I have prayed at Trail of Tears State Park, in Missouri and at Scioto Hills, Ohio, for the recognition that mankind is one, and that the Aboriginal nations feel vindicated of their long ago suffering. I have felt intensely welcomed in Des Moines , in Cape Girardeau, New Madrid, and Rolla (MO), Quincy (IL), Francesville (IN) and Fruitport (MI). Two of the best meals I’ve ever had, were in Dixon and in Vandalia (IL).
The Indigenous People of the riparian region may have irritated Abraham Lincoln, whose heritage I have honoured, in New Salem and Springfield (IL) and in Hodgenville, KY. There would, however, not be as rich an overall heritage, for the Midwest, were it not for Cahokia, Chillicothe (OH), Pipestone (MN) and the remaining nations that grace nearly every state in the East Central swath. Too bad that Honest Abe didn’t get to know the Native peoples better. It may have made a great difference in the fates of their descendants.
I have plenty of family in this vast region- in Avilla and Blue Springs, MO, plus Jeffersonville, IN. Friends abound here, as well, in northern Illinois, the Twin Cities, Wisconsin, several parts of Missouri, eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, across Indiana, Little Rock, New Orleans, and eastern Alabama.
There remain many parts of the mid-section that pique my interest, from northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, to bubbling, revitalizing cities, like Kansas City, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Detroit.
I will be back across, on the way to/from a family reunion, in mid-summer. It’ll be a fine thing to feel the water, and the warmth of Midwest welcomes.