MAR 2, 2002


Some people believe that Hell is a combination of fire and ice for those that dwell therein have hearts of ice-cold stone that even the fires of Hell cannot melt.

A cold wind had blown in from the north, yet I felt compelled to complete a new stretch of trail along the shores of The Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral and thus began my trek east from The City of Death. 

I took the jeep to the trailhead and began trimming shrubs so that the trail would be passable. The north wind was churning the waters of the lake, sending white-capped waves crashing onto the rocky shore. Even though the temperature was slightly above freezing the strong wind brought the chill factor down to around 10 degrees, making my fingers feel like they were on fire, then my toes protruding from my sandals, and finally my nose and chin.

My mother’s favorite ‘sermonette’ is ‘Feel God’ ( and my current state of discomfort made me think that I would prefer to not feel God in quite this way. As the cold progressed through my body and into my very bones, I began to think about St. Francis and how he relished in feeling the spirit of God throughout the year in the harsh mountain clime of Central Italy.

With St. Francis as my example I began to analyze the majesty of the moment and the penetrating cold became a part of the experience of watching the gray skies and the sound of the waves crashing against the boulders. I thought about the little birds, frogs, butterflies, and the other of God’s creatures that also felt the bite of the wind and the cold and hoped that they would not suffer too greatly.

As darkness settled over that part of the earth, I found myself on the shore below the huge boulder that serves as a special place of anointment and which, in my opinion, served as a sacred place for Native Americans in centuries past. In a few places the clouds were thin enough to detect a soft pink glow from light reflections coming from the invisible sunset.

Suddenly, two openings appeared in the clouds and two bright red glowing oriental eyes appeared, to which was added in the shadings of the clouds, the abstract features of a cat. I have no idea what it meant, if anything, but it appeared in the northwest sky toward what is said to be an Aztec ceremonial center, although I believe that in actuality it must be Caddo.

It was almost dark when I arrived at my jeep at the trailhead and when I passed through the gate and onto the pavement of ‘Cathedral Drive’ (FM 135), I saw the glow of tail lights of an unfamiliar truck. The driver must have been surprised to see a vehicle seem to appear out of nowhere and so started driving toward FM 980. I began to follow so that I would have the license number of the vehicle as there has been a problem with poachers along this isolated stretch of roadway.

The vehicle turned left toward Waterwood Parkway and then turned left again onto the parkway and toward the Country Club. When the truck arrived at the Country Club parking lot it stopped and the driver rolled down his window as I pulled alongside. 

Beside the bearded stranger was a young boy. I told the man that I was curious to know who he was as we were trying to protect the deer that grazed along the edge of the roadway from poachers.

The man explained that he often went there with his son to study and contemplate the beauty of nature. I told him about the Wilderness Cathedral and the interfaith concept of the Ethician Church. He too was concerned about the need to protect Creation from further harm and was anointed right there in the parking lot as a new Deacon.

During our conversation the parking lot filled with dozens of cars and trucks and even a huge tour bus. Next, the longest stretch limousine I have ever seen drove slowly toward the entrance to the Club.

I then remembered that this was the evening of a huge wedding celebration being given by a powerful political figure who had done everything in his power to counter my efforts to protect and preserve the quality of life in our community.

His obsession with cancerous growth was destroying the beauty of our little town as he indebted the tax-payers in order to subsidize rich developers and multi-national corporations that were bulldozing down acres of God’s beautiful forests and replacing them with ugliness, sprawl, and gridlock.

To understand how ethically bankrupt The City of Death has become, this same political leader has even announced to the international media that the death penalty is good for business since the people who come to Huntsville to protest against it or chant in its favor, spend money. In his mind, it apparently makes no difference if the State is killing the guilty or murdering the innocent as long as dollars change hands.

Just this last year he had used the power of his office to force the destruction of much of “God’s Garden”, a bird and butterfly sanctuary which our Church had developed in downtown Huntsville. His ‘weed police’ said that wildflowers are weeds and thus must be destroyed. To satisfy him we had to kill thousands of rare plants representing nearly 100 species. Even our sign was stolen.

I told our new Deacon about the irony of this huge orgy of excess taking place in an enclave in the heart of the greater Cathedral grounds and how the tens of thousands of dollars being spent to put on this spectacle of hubris was no doubt derived from investments in activities what were destroying Planet Eden. I was certain that the majority of the hundreds of guests were no doubt of the same philosophy of laissez-faire capitalism that dictates that ethics and morals should play no role in the making of money. 

Their hearts are cold. Their greed is great. Their lust for power and prestige rule their lives. Beautiful forests are called ‘timber’. Acres of parking are looked upon as ‘progress’. Clear-cuts are called ‘improved land’. Their god is money. Nothing else is sacred to them, for in their minds God gave them the earth to exploit and consume and destroy at will.

I said good-by to our new Deacon and his son and headed up the drive to the Country Club entrance to get a look at the spectacle. The temperature was 34 degrees as displayed on the jeep’s temperature gauge. I passed the limo which was waiting for the photographers to prepare their cameras. As I pulled up to the Club entrance where the crowd of party goers and the heat coming from the opening and closing doors should have caused the temperature to rise, an alarm sounded. I looked up and the word “ICE” appeared followed by “31” degrees!

I continued down the drive and on toward the house. At the bottom of the drive, I looked up at the temperature gauge and it had returned to 34 degrees where it remained. My thermometer had apparently registered the collective temperatures of the hearts of the politicians, developers, and money-changers that filled the Club.


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