Recently we took a trip to, Starved Rock. It’s the top rated park in the Mid-West area. The park was recommend by friends and students of mine. We were excited to check it out! What was to be a breezy afternoon to connect with nature and its elements, turned out to be a comedy of errors and bloopers! If you’re heading outdoors into nature for reflection and peace you might find the opposite happens. It could give you the greatest gift, if not more.
Saturday morning we woke up early and packed the essentials. We were set to go! I love nature and exploring. Eric, my boyfriend, loves it too. As long as it doesn’t start at the crack of dawn. This was pretty close to that time of morning. Thank goodness for the, coffee gods. They sprinkled their coffee bean goodness to help us usher out the door. After a few errands and stops we traveled out to, Oglesby, Illinois, where the park is located. The drive was beautiful and about two hours away from where we live. As I chanted, “Starved Rock! Starved Rock!” when we neared, we saw a policeman in front of the entryway. Large barricades were close behind him. Everything became slow motion as we drove by. I looked longingly at the blocked entrance. There was no way in. It reminded me of the scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation, when they eventually made it to, Wally World, to find it closed.
Brake for Food
There was a nearby park a couple miles down the road from, Starved Rock. We stopped there and sat down to eat. I noticed that several people were grazing the grounds. “Could they be disappointed too, that Starved Rock was closed?”, I asked myself. We then heard them saying, Starved Rock, unfortunately has to close at certain times of the day when it begins to overflow with traffic. This year sadly, brought more rainfall than expected to the area. The parking lots became congested by this heavy rainfall. Eventually, they allow entrance after some of the crowd has dispersed.
Back on the Nature Trail
After lunch we gave it a second try. We drove back to, Starved Rock. The barricades were finally gone. Making our way through the mass of people, we now completely understood the reason for the maximum occupancy guidelines. We started out on one of the trails in hopes of finding the caves that they’re known for. There were multiple levels of steps to climb. After what seemed to be a thousand steps, we made it to the top. Caves were not to be found at the peak, but the most majestic view, was. We overlooked treetops and took in the fresh air. The naturescape kept us there for a while. We then made our way back down the trail and on to the next one. I held onto hopes of finding these caves we heard much about. The sun was starting to beam down rays of unnecessary heat. More people were coming in by the droves. We were walking further downhill when a group of children started chanting about the caves too and accidentally ran into my leg. I contemplated, “Were the caves worth this all?”, as I took a nose-dive down.
A Wrong Turn on the Nature Path was Best
Following several miles of walking, we took a wrong turn. We wound up back at the front of the park. I finally gave up on the caves but I did not give up on snow cones they were selling. It was the perfect cool down. All of the benches covered by shade from the trees were occupied. As we sat down in the open and the sun poured its melty light on us, I was glad it didn’t turn out as expected. Sleepy eyes, spilled coffee, errands gone amuck, closed parks, hand scrapes, and mysterious hidden caves, gave us the hardest laughs. It also gave us memorable views and an idea for this week’s blog.
Nature is the Muse We All Need
Nature truly is a transporter for peace, calm, and ideas. Bathing in nature is an actual form of meditation. You don’t have to close your eyes. Just go into the great outdoors and simply be. You can channel inspiration, get an influx of relaxation, and/or heal anything out of balance. Maybe you’ll gain a few laughs at the same time. We build and strengthen our trifecta when we turn inside out, to find ways to do so, and when nothing goes as planned.