April 18, 2004
Back after several days of not blogging. My parents drove all of the way from Maryland to Southern Illinois this weekend. We had some Heartland adventures at the university, Giant City State Park, and Paducah, Kentucky. There are also three new gnomish family members here at the Carbondale homestead, all gifts from my parents: Green Meany, The Professor, and Welcome Willy (more on them in the future). The weather was insanely beautiful this weekend, which was an improvement over the soupy fog and rain that we had in November, when we last had weekend guests out here. The sun was blinding, the leaves were green, the dogwoods were white, and the temperatures made it into the upper 80s. After a walking tour of the campus, we took a short hike in Giant City State Park. It was formed when the glaciers that flattened most of Illinois melted and carved bluffs out of the native sandstone. The park is named after the bluffs on the Nature Trail, which resemble the walls of a giant city. The whole park always makes me feel smaller than I usually feel out here in this part of the country. There are carvings from the Civil War there (both the North and the South are said to have hidden in those cliffs) on the walls, as well as some more recent graffiti. This inscription is a from a soldier in 1862, and it is about 8-10 feet off of the ground. I'm used to the East Coast, where things which date back to the Civil War are fairly commonplace. My parents' house dates back about that far, and it was built on three lots, when that part of Baltimore City was still part of the country. It had an outhouse a long long time agol. It's weird to see something so old, yet human-made, out here, such as those Civil War carvings. Still, the bluffs are older than any carvings on them, or any landmarks in Boston or Baltimore. Strange perspective, that is.