Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Squishy Illinois

At the end of May 2011, the soil of northern Illinois is squishy. My main sample is my back yard, parts of which are still damp from previous weeks punctuated with days of rain, sometimes very heavy. But that's not my only sample. We visited Starved Rock State Park on Saturday, which hugs the southern banks of the Illinois River in LaSalle County, just beyond the pale of metro Chicago. Part of the park was inaccessible.

But mostly the trails were open. Down in Fox Canyon -- the park's "canyons" aren't very big, but they are steep -- the trail becomes a boardwalk that overlooks a bit of water. A bit more than usual, I'd say.

Most of the trails aren't boardwalk, but dirt, which meant a lot of mud. Enough to coat our shoes and the further reaches of our pants, and inspire some low comedy. That is, one or another of us nearly slipping and falling. I'd say that's the prehistoric, almost pre-human origin of comedy, watching fellow members of your clan slip and fall.

But at least the land was lush. A month ago, there would have barely been a green fuzz. A month from now (and probably sooner), the place will be swarming with mosquitoes, but only a few were active over Memorial Day weekend. This year's irritatingly cold May days might been responsible for that, in which case they weren't quite so irritating.

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