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Sometimes a strong urge for a little spiritual renewal comes upon me. Something I find in nature, particularly woods and sea, but also in certain specific places. One of these is the village of New Harmony on the Illinois-Indiana border almost directly due east from St. Louis.

Unfortunately, my wife had to work on Sunday, so I took my son and myself off to the New Harmony Inn for an overnight stay.

The weather was spectacular. Sunny, bright and warm. (Contrast this with today and below freezing temperatures and 6 inches of snow forcast tomorrow!) The drive took two hours, and met a hiccup when we found that the main bridge into town was closed.

So we were forced to divert onto the I-64 bridge over the Wabash River and head down south into the village. Not really very far out of our way, and we got to see a little more of Indiana than we normally do.

We arrived at about 3:30 p.m., checked-in (straightening out a misunderstanding about our booking in the process and getting a couple of vouchers for free breakfast in The Red Geranium restaurant the following morning in the process), and found our room. My son settled into watching a Dr. Who video that we had brought with us while I wandered out into the garden.

There were many changes since I had last been there, about four or five years ago.

Several new statues in the garden, including an iron silhouette of a monk and birds and an angel settling on the shoulder of an old man.

That one was a little spooky.

I walked the circuit of the lake path, taking in the fields that led down to the Wabash River, and the small wood that adjoined the lake, pausing to gaze at the little waterfall that led into the pond.

That was just as I remembered it.

I crossed over the tiny copse that comprised the Paul Tillich Park. This gave me an opportunity to photograph the bust of Tillich that lies at the end of the path leading into the small wood. (Later I added it to the Wikipedia page on Tillich – one of the more contentious entries in the encyclopedia judging by the flags and reams of discussion!)

It always amuses me how much time and effort is spent arguing over theology, considering the sublect dwells so much on the unknowable.

I went back to the room with a swim in the pool in mind, only to realise that we had both left our swimming trunks behind. So we drove off the Evansville and a local Walmart, taking advantage of the journey to pick up a couple of Subway sandwiches for supper. Those, more Dr. Who, a brief swim before the pool was invaded by a crowd of beer-swilling teenagers, and a finally walk around the pond at night.

A clear sky filled with all the stars you cannot see from light-drenched St. Louis.

Across the lake, a light illuminated a small white chapel, casting a shadow of a cross and reflecting into the water. Quite a different atmosphere from the noisy pool, much more of what I had come for.

Back to the room and yet more Dr. Who before bed and a wonderfully peaceful sleep.

I woke up before dawn, and decided it would be fun to watch the sun rise by the Wabash River. So I gathered myself and my camera down to the riverside to see the day's beginning.

(to be continued)