A little touch of awe in the daily grind



Sometimes I forget how fortunate we are to live in a place like Logan County.

A citified gentleman originally from Harlem who now lives in Columbus recently commented to me that if he were able to spend a week in Logan County, he would spend his time fasting and communing with God and nature.

It is an awesome place, he said.

And he was not using “awesome” in that worn out way I once used as a teenager and now try to avoid entirely. He was truly struck by the immensity of nature and history we Logan County residents often take for granted.

I was struck by a similar sense of awe just this weekend as I sat on the walls of Piatt Castle Mac-O-Chee and listened to its caretaker discuss how limestone from the nearby quarry was used to build nearly every facet of the castle’s walls from the massive stone exteriors to the plaster interior walls and fresco paintings.

Looking up at the sea of limestone and listening to ducks quacking on the nearby pond made me appreciate our little corner of the world.

Then on Monday, I read a column by a man from Napoleon who had written that he picked up a copy of the Bellefontaine Examiner on a trip through the area but didn’t find any nuggets to share with readers of the North West Signal.

I was a little hurt at first that he didn’t find anything of value to report on from our neck of the woods.

In an email to the author, I noted that Bellefontaine’s very cornerstone was once the spring that Shawnee war chief Blue Jacket drank from and that pioneer Simon Kenton loved this place so much he and his wife Margaret chose to spend their final years here enjoying the mint that still grows around the former site of their cabin.

We were a booming railroad town, I wrote, a community integrally tied to transportation and we recently celebrated the opening of a new museum that highlights this rich contribution to society.

There is much more to Logan County than the fact that Campbell Hill is the highest point in the state, I wrote.

But after sending off the hastily-written email, I realized that I am just as guilty as the author of not always taking the time to slow down and appreciate the things around me.

I’m sure if I were to pass through Henry County and pick up a copy of the North West Signal I would probably not get to read about the area’s rich history, which is remarkably closely related to that of Logan County.

Not only did Blue Jacket and his warriors relocate to the banks of the Maumee River in adjacent Wood County after Benjamin Logan’s Raid made its way through Logan County, but Napoleon, the county seat of Henry County, was established about the same time as Bellefontaine and became a hub of railroad-related activity.

These details, although part of our collective memories, are often lost in the day-to-day grind of the daily news.

Readers, after all, prefer to read about who died this week, where the most recent automobile wreck was and who made the police blotters, we tell ourselves. There are school boards and council meetings to cover; governments spending taxpayer money.

And in this new information-driven society we live in, we news reporters have to cover it fast, beat those Internet bloggers and Facebook users to the punch.

But sometimes we have to stop and slow down and remember the things we should be grateful for.

Take a look at the place we live through the eyes of my friend from Harlem.

It’s a pretty awesome place.

Reuben Mees is an Examiner staff writer with a penchant for local history. He can be reached at rmees@examiner.org