New Harmony. Fireflies.

Summer and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

Shabbat gratefuls: The Billy Joel/Paul Simon shabbat. Veronica. Tom. Paul. Joan. Irv. Kaddish. Yahrzeits. Numbers. Parsha Beha’alotcha. Lisa. The James Webb. The Hubble. Euclid. The context provided by the Cosmos. Storm Before the Calm. Election year 2024. The June 22, 2024 life. Mezuzahs. Orion. Betelgeuse. Rigel. Vega. Polaris. Arcturus.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Our magnificent, short, wonderful life

One brief shining: Each summer the ceiling fan in my bedroom makes sleep possible, yet it refused to turn on, so I called Altitude Electric who sent hipster bearded Karsten; no bueno, no bueno, he said to the work of the previous electrician who installed this fan, as he pulled its main body out of the ceiling and sparks flew, tripping the breaker.


Home. This and that. Ceiling fan that doesn’t work. Grass needed cutting for Fire mitigation. Marina calling to ask how my roof was doing. Mini-split filters need cleaning. You know.


Rappite Buildings, New Harmony***

On some long ago trip back to Indiana I made a brief stop in New Harmony. It sits north of Evansville in the far southern part of the state and far enough west to be on the Wabash River with Illinois on the opposite bank.

Whoa. What a place. Founded by Rappites, followers of a German Christian theosophist* and pietist, George Rapp, the Harmonist Society created three model communities, two in Pennsylvania and one in Indiana, now New Harmony. They held goods in common and were so successful in their business endeavors that Rapp sold Harmony, Indiana to Robert Owen, a Welsh industrialist. Rapp felt their secular success was compromising their religious mission.

Rapp moved the Harmonists back to Pennsylvania while Owen found a number of scientists, artists and educators who left Philadelphia on a riverboat, bound for New Harmony. It became known as the Boatload of Knowledge. Owen was a utopian who wanted to create a socialist society in his New Harmony experiment. The experiment failed, but not before the United States Geological Survey was founded.

Roofless church gate

In its latter day existence New Harmony has become a conference center, an open air museum with buildings from the Rapp and Owen eras preserved. It includes, too, a large labyrinth created by the Harmonists.

Phillip Johnson’s roofless church, a non-denominational walled compound, stands across the street from the Red Geranium Restaurant. Behind the Red Geranium lies Paul Tillich Park, the burial site of one of the twentieth centuries most prominent Christian theologians.

There is a short street that runs between the roofless church and Paul Tillich Park. One evening on a subsequent visit to New Harmony I left the Red Geranium at dusk after a tasty dinner. Strolling I went into Paul Tillich Park, read some of the inscribed boulders, left the Park and continued down the road. It didn’t go much further until it entered a grove of Maple and Oak and Beech Trees which arched over it.

Tillich Grave Site

Fireflies. Thousands of them. Lit the arched space over the road, giving it depth and wonder. My then immersion into Celtic lore meant I could only see this as an entrance to the Otherworld. Walking towards the grove, I imagined myself coming out in Faery where time passes differently and returning years later to a changed New Harmony.

Instead I chose to stop and enjoy this amazing sight.




*Christian theosophy, also known as Boehmian theosophy and theosophy, refers to a range of positions within Christianity that focus on the attainment of direct, unmediated knowledge of the nature of divinity and the origin and purpose of the universe. Wiki

**Philadelphia Academy of Sciences…President William Maclure, “father of American geology,” had gathered (members of the Academy) them all aboard the keelboat Philantropist [they used the French spelling]: scientists, artists, musicians, and educators, some bringing along their students, and all were eager to settle in Robert Owen’s New Harmony community on the Indiana frontier. JSTOR

***By Leepaxton at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0,