Portage is an offshoot of Kalamazoo, a branch that kept creeping southward from the downtown area, and sprouted strips of shopping malls, businesses, organizations, and eventually seedlings of housing developments with bigger lawns that planted shoots of affluent schools. There is no downtown, per se, not like it's older brother, the 'Zoo. It has the money and the shiny school buildings, but no downtown hub, no real flavor or character. No homeless or out-of-work people standing on street corners though, either.
Today is a gloomy, Michigan fall day. The rain is a steady drizzle of bone-chilling wetness and the sky overhead looks painted in a garage-floor battleship grey. Headlights don't really illuminate anything; neither do the autumn leaves that still cling to some of the trees cut through the greyness. Even their fall finery has muted to shades of tans and burgundies. Most would call it an ugly day.
I cut through the side street by KMart to shortcut my way back to work off the main thoroughfare. I glanced over, and there on a small pie-slice of concrete that separated two lanes of traffic stood a man. On this small wedge of space he stood there serenely playing a violin. Something about the oddness, the out-of-placeness cut into my spirit. In the midst of nondescript commercial buildings and rushing vehicles I briefly encountered a thing of beauty and heard the sounds of heaven wafting through my window. It was one of those moments when the world around you suddenly emerges in sharp detail, illumined by an interior light of the soul, and you see the web of God stretching over everything, everywhere.
Darla, (Zoo Gal over there on the left in my blog links), who is my unofficial business rep, has convinced me that it's all right to profit from the Advent Giving Calendar I created for my church. I mean, that would be a blessing for me as a single mom, but without Darla's enthusiastic encouragement I wouldn't even thought of it. It was just going to be something I did for my church, and gave to people like Darla, who has a heart full of love and full of Christ. (Is that redundant?)
If you'd like to know more about this, it's on my web site: GoodrichDesign.net
Oh! And if you'd really like the file to print and don't have any money, let me know, okay?