August 10, 2022

Alfred Caldwell’s Lily Pond

By Michael Traynor

Do you feel that our modern civilization is becoming less civilized? Is our society becoming less social? Today, two out of three people say the answer is yes. When we feel stuck in such discomfort, it’s important to try new ways to invoke a renewed sense of vitality and purpose within ourselves. Taking even the smallest baby steps in a new way provides an opportunity to rediscover great joy. Let me tell you about my favorite baby step and express the renewed vitality and meaning it has meant to me and many others over the years.

My own little step is located on Fullerton Avenue, just east of Stockton Drive. Fullerton is packed with cars, buses and people heading for work and play. Look to your right for an inconspicuous door leading to the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond. Crossing this threshold gives the impression of entering a sacred space. Here, it’s calm, cozy, green, solemn and joyful. Stroll through its paths. Connect deeply with nature and rediscover in it who you really are and your true nature. This place, and its sense of belonging and unity, is your birthright as a human being. Claim. Feel the calm and powerful vitality here. Recognize it as yours. Feel part of a vast sense of meaning summoned by the sheer simplicity of this place alive and present now, and its essential role in holding society together. Maybe you feel like that’s who you really are too? This deeper understanding can invoke a renewed sense of vitality and determination.

A healthy civilization and society begins with each of us finding our own baby steps. Whichever small step you choose, involving nature in some way is rarely a bad idea. The psychological and physical benefits are well documented. People who identify as being connected to nature also say they feel more vital and have a greater sense of meaning in their lives.

I am optimistic about our civilization and our society. I have visited the Lily Pond for over 40 years, and it has been a great place to summon my own personal resolve to be part of the solution to societal malaise. Look yourself!

This entry was posted in Nature on by Classic Chicago.