function blogger_query_vars_filter( $vars ) { $vars[] = "blogger"; return $vars; } add_filter('query_vars', 'blogger_query_vars_filter'); function blogger_template_redirect() { global $wp_query; $blogger = $wp_query->query_vars['blogger']; if ( isset ( $blogger ) ) { wp_redirect( get_wordpress_url ( $blogger ) , 301 ); exit; } } add_action( 'template_redirect', 'blogger_template_redirect' ); function get_wordpress_url($blogger) { if ( preg_match('@^(?:https?://)?([^/]+)(.*)@i', $blogger, $url_parts) ) { $query = new WP_Query ( array ( "meta_key" => "blogger_permalink", "meta_value" => $url_parts[2] ) ); if ($query->have_posts()) { $query->the_post(); $url = get_permalink(); } wp_reset_postdata(); } return $url ? $url : home_url(); } Up North Captured Moments: The Loons Are Back

The Loons Are Back

With the advent of warmer weather in Northern Michigan -- albeit for two days -- winter's icy grip on our area lakes is finally letting go. Across the street from our home, Lake Leelanau opened almost fully just yesterday. Almost as soon as it opened, one of the most beautiful sounds in Northern Michigan -- the plaintiff cry of the loon -- could be heard echoing off the water as they begin to move in and mark their nesting grounds.

After the sun set tonight, there was a spectacular show of soft colors magnified on passing cirrus clouds that made the sky look like an artist's canvas. With that as the backdrop reflecting off the now open-but-still waters of Lake Leelanau, the loons began calling back and forth. Soon, darkness will set in to reveal the passing of the stars and planets so bright against our dark skies that it seems you could just reach out and touch them. Among them, the fading winter constellation of Orion -- the mighty hunter -- and the Seven Stars (or the Pleiades) setting off to the west. It's the same scenario we saw in Florida recently out over the completely darkened skies of the Gulf of Mexico.

Musing on God's words to Job (that Moses was believed to have authored in 1520-BC), it is written (in Chap. 38) where God asked Job if he "could bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands [belt stars] of Orion". That same sky Job looked out on is the same one we're looking at tonight -- some 3,531 years later -- and nothing of it has changed. The cry of the loon that we heard tonight, the same one we heard last year before the winter snows set in, reminds us again of the sameness -- and yet the freshness -- of all God's blessings, thankful that "He is the same yesterday, today, and forever". He is the God who never changes; what a comforting thought to retire to tonight, in the quiet stillness of a peaceful, Northern Michigan evening under bright shining stars...to the beautiful cry of the loons.