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Grand Rapids, MI

Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Henry, Poetry, & Song

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(Since Peter's reading...) It was quite a few years back that I walked into the church late at night to pick something up, and an elderly woman from our congregation had passed away. She was a saint, lover of books, and great conversationalist with God. They took her books and laid them out on a table for anyone to take and add to their own collections. I got first dibbs because I was there late at night before everyone would arrive the next morning. So... I browsed, and it was there I found this old book. It was dark blue with gold etching and leafing and lithographs inside. It was called "Little Rivers: a book of essays in profitable idleness." Since I'm a fly-fisherman and a book-addict, it seemed right. The book was by Henry Van Dyke, who was himself a Presbyterian pastor in the 19th century, fly-fisherman, poet, writer, English Literature teacher at Yale, among other things. (Not to be confused with the 20th century novelist by the same name.) For loves of things like the book of common prayer, he was the major writing presence behind the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship.

I loved the book. So, I decided to learn more about the man. I found a couple of his old out-of-print books at used shops. At one point I found the whole collection (Avalon series) at a used book shop in Kalamazoo. So, Peter and I got some good coffee and headed off to one of those dusty, old, smelly places that houses such wonderful shelves of history and richness.

I'm going to do a few posts on Henry... just a couple... that connect with what I've been writing about. But not now. Now, I'm going to talk to my wife.


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