Neptune

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Any half attentive person would, no doubt, have caught the recent news of the ‘New Horizons’ mission to (dwarf) planet Pluto. Some stunning images are being sent back! Scientific hypothesis are being tested and researchers are trying to expound the profundities of all this newly acquired information. The exploration that began 11 years ago, which to this lay person, seems like some expensive finger-crossing; will continue to drift past Pluto further into deep space until it no longer can communicate.

Perhaps it will unlock secrets that haven’t even yet become mysteries. Perhaps the current mysteries will remain as guarded as they always have been; relegating science and math to their respective theories. No doubt, though, both theory and mystery will remain, only to be to be expounded upon by dear progeny.

Here on earth, there are such places of mystery. Rarely found in concrete surroundings. A natural world that one merely has to travel to where the pavement ends.

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It marks both our humble beginnings and notes our own progress. Seemingly forgotten but easy find. The rural countryside. Where homesteaders farmed land for their survival. Where they depended on the earth to produce their meager but substantive lives. It’s here, where their own progeny left or abandoned for the ‘new world’ of the city. The remains of that life are often covered with the scars of time, a verdant growth that waits for no one or thing. As Muir put it: ‘Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.’

We can, graciously, accept our successes, knowing from whence we came. Bell’s Brewery–Larry Bell, dreamt of a beer full of mystery. The culmination of a series of Planetary appreciation, based on Gustav Holst’s own musical interpretation of celestial reverie. An ingredient list that harkens back to the time when the earth was worked without the aid of modern implements. What better place to go acquire said ingredients?

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Just north of Kalamazoo, an old farm shows the remnants of a bygone era. An old well pit, cloaked in moss, is a barely legible “HENNESSY 1837″ (but both “n’s” were written backwards.) That’s all that remains of what must have been an unimaginably difficult life. The trees have since reclaimed what sweat and determination had cleared away, and among the many trees are a few Shagbark Hickory. The exfoliating bark has been used for centuries by our predecessors. It will go into the beer, Neptune, and with each glass raised to anticipating lips, a mystery will unfold.

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