The Dark Side of the Moon
A well dressed man held a group hostage in an elegant dining room at a mansion. They may not have known it, but I could tell he was a vampire. If they didn’t comply with his wishes, which were unknown to me, he would perform unspeakably gruesome acts.
He pointed to what looked like an ordinary coffee mug and handed a girl a twig, almost like cinnamon bark. She, under his control, dropped the twig, a drug or poison, into the cup, although part of me wondered how he would force the people to drink it. I knew him to be evil, though, and in my mind I saw all of them tortured and dying if they drank what was in the cup.
I don’t know if I was the girl, or if I was an opposing power who controlled her, but she tipped the cup so its toxic contents slowly and quietly spilled out. The vampire seemed unaware, and I felt certain she would not be caught or punished. Teasingly, yet meaningfully, the wife would tell him to mind his dinner. Like me, she knew he was interested in the woman. I sensed a playful but real tension. The next time I looked at the women, I realized the companion was just a girl, perhaps even an older teenager. It came to me, too, that the man supported his family through petty crime.
The man left to meet another man; together they went in search of a particular cat. But the cat eluded them, and they became transfixed by a different cat, which they caught. It did not seem to mind. I doubted that either cat was really an animal and wondered what their game was. They knew what they were doing and had something in mind. I was a little afraid for the men, for although they were petty criminals, they were not evil at heart.
In his answer to the 2005 Edge question, hat do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it??Kai Krause articulates exactly how I think about the past, present, and future. I feeling less than philosophical about the ow,?however, becau tommy hilfiger uk se today started less than ideally. A lot less.
I had decided to celebrate the end of a difficult week by leaving early and stopping at Argo Tea for a breakfast wrap. At a little past 7 olock, I walked out into a driving wind that was scuttering sheets of water northward down the street. I thought about waiting a few minutes indoors, but I did want to leave early, and I couldn count on the wind or the rain letting up soon. I found myself blown toward 55th Street (the closer bus stop) because the wind was swirling mostly from the south. By the time I had walked to 55th and Hyde Park Boulevard, of course both wind and rain had dissipated into a drizzle with a bit of a breeze.
But during that eight minute walk down two and one half blocks, a gust had broken a rib in my favorite everyday umbrella. Grrr.
Although it a little further away, I prefer t tommy hilfiger uk he 56th Street stop because it in the park with a view of trees and the Museum of Science and Industry, the stop itself is crowded, and as it an earlier stop on the route the buses are less crowded, too. But I would have had to have fought a powerful head wind three quarters of a block and then a slanting one in the open the rest of the way. So I was blown down the path of least resistance toward 55th.
Where I not only discovered that the wind had broken my umbrella, but within moments a crazed man, or a fabulous facsimile of one, thrust his face into mine, muttering odd things about sainthood and finally throwing in a pitch for money. I wasn his only target; he besieged the male half of a young Asian couple, the only other people around. A few minutes later he came back for a second go at me, this time with a straight leap into the saintly rant and no interruption for a pitch. There no feeling that compares to being trapped under a bus shelter in the rain with a wide eyed, self proclaimed (I think) saint.
My pencil lead broke as I was writing this. Yes, the ow?was going to be a day of small annoyances.
This ow?seems to be one of those times when my highest aspiration is to be a turtle, with head pulled firmly into shell (there be no fooling me into peeking out). So this is a good time to forget the ow?and remember the hen,?in this case, last Saturday the 17th.
For years Ie wanted to visit Starved Rock State Park, after I read about it in either the Chicago Tribune (back when that paper had content of interest) or a local magazine. I thought I mentioned it to J., but apparently I hadn because he been bringing up a trip there as a new idea for the past few weeks. He never been there, either, and his late mother had piqued his curiosity with her fond recollections of it. So we set Saturday the 17th as the date to go. And we did.
I met him again at the Homewood Metra station, after which we made a detour to Caribou Coffee. He had his cup and enormous vacuum bottle filled, meanwhile contributing to Amy fund. I opted for a bathroom visit and a pumpkin cooler. Next came the tricky partinding the entrance onto the expressway. The Google Maps text explanation seems a little off to me, and the entrance itself is tucked away almost as though it were meant to be missed. The brightness of the afternoon sun also glared off the iPhone screen, making it almost impossible to see. But, after I had him turn the car (the little blue dot on the map) around, J. spotted the ramp, and away we went.
I feel like this has been a dreary autumn, but even as we angled southwest down the highway, the clouds continued to break up into interesting patterns, with the sun breaking through enough to give me headache as I peered at the iPhone screen. The more sun, the warmer the airt was turning into the perfect fall day for a walk in the woods and a little bit of an adventure.
Part of the way is along the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, designated such on August 24, 1984. This strikes me as a fabulous idea, allowing the many towns along the way their historic and industrial due. J. noticed a sign for a radio station dedicated to tourist information, so he tuned in. As I watched our blue dot skimming along on the map, I felt a teeny bit like an explorer when I told him, ee going to cross a river shortly.?This proved to be the Fox, known to me mainly for its propensity to flood (making its banks the ideal spot for a Mies van der Rohe monstrosity).
Probably more so than the Corridor, Starved Rock is a well loved attraction, drawing millions of visitors a yearot all, I suspect, from Illinois. If J. and I recall correctly, Starved Rock was on ex Governor Rod Blagojevich short list of state facilities to close or curtail, which amazes me. Here you have millions of people who want to visit, and I noticed that the towns along the way tout their proximity to it. A different radio station is dedicated to its tourists. It reasonable to assume that these local economies benefit from Starved Rock visitors passing through, dining, shopping, perhaps even spending the night as Starved Rock Lodge is often fully booked. The park drew J. and me to an area we otherwise would have had no reason to visit. What would cutbacks at the park have meant to how many people? What good could come of cutting its funding and services? Cut off nose, spite faceerhaps I missing some of the details, but that how it seems to me.
Starved Rock State Park is still fully functional, but the first sight in the visitors center made me sadhe enormous cross section of the trunk of an elm dating from before the Civil War that had succumbed to Dutch elm disease in the early 2000s. To the lower right, you can see a black and white photo of the living tree in its prime, when, the exhibit notes, it sported one of the largest crowns in the country. Oh, to have such a tree under which to while away free time in the summer and upon which to look and ponder in the winter.
We took a quick walk through the gift shop and exhibit that were to close in a few minutes at 4 olock and picked up a map and advice on where to go. We had about an hour and three quarters before dark, so the woman we spoke to steered us toward French Canyon, which she thought we could manage in the time left, or possibly Starved Rock itself. She alluded to slippery footing at French Canyon, but I couldn quite tell what to expect.
It turned out to be a gorgeous spot, a place like I might expect to find in parts of New York.
At first it looked like I wasn going to make it into the canyon at all. It wasn that it was hard, and those in good condition and with sure feet could bound about fairly easily. I not in any condition, but what holds me back is a combination of physical weakness and emotional fear. With a little difficulty, I m tommy hilfiger uk ade my way down the steps, some steep, leading into a lower canyon, like a vestibule, where a heavyset woman sat with a stroller (occupied or not, I couldn tell). The footing was angled and slippery and seemed treacherous to me, and when I tried to go around her, I ended up grabbing the stroller to steady myselfot a very smart move!
French Canyon itself was up a little waterfall and around a wall of rock, so I couldn see it. The woman with the stroller told us that it was lovely, and everyone returning seemed impressed. As I stood there, I thought about how I wanted to come here for years, how I finally gotten the chance, and how upset I would be later if my weaknesses and fears, both real, kept me from experiencing the joy of the moment or seeing something that should be within my reach. I also saw with painful, stark clarity that if such tiny feats are difficult for me now, they will tommy hilfiger uk cross the line to impossible when I oldererhaps in five years, maybe ten. My time is shorter than I care to know.
For once in my life I decided to go for the gusto. It easy for me to laugh at myself because it really wasn that hard. But I have pain and moments of weakness in my back and legs, and no confidence in my body or its abilities, and so I was afraid and had to overcome that fear. The memory of falling on my front teeth last year doesn help.
But, using both hands and my rear as a stabilizing platform, and getting all of them dirty, I wound around the woman and stroller, used the worn human footprints as steps up the mini waterfall, and emerged into one of the loveliest sites I can imagine, at least in Illinois tiny, steep, narrow canyon darkened by the remaining leaves on the overhanging trees and tinkling with the 45 foot fall of water at its end.
I could see immediately why Starved Rock is popular. And popular it was on this autumn day, as a group of adults and adolescents descended on us as we were about to venture forth, as a young couple stood at the base of the waterfall, as another young couple set up a tripod and cameras people came, expressed their wonder, and left. Except perhaps on the coldest, bleakest midwinter day, I doubt one could find solitude at French Canyonr anywhere else at Starved Rock.