Thursday, August 5, 2010

Remembering Southern Illinois

Our long hot summer drags on.... The day before yesterday was, I heard rumor, 112 degrees with the heat index factored in. It certainly felt like it! Today was not nearly so monstrous but I still decided against an after-work birding trip in favor of staying home and working on a short story that I had an idea for last week...while I was out birding, of course. (I always feel more creative after spending time in nature.)

The story takes place in a setting similar to the one that Greenturtle and I experienced in the early summer of 2008, when we went to Southern Illinois for a week of camping and hiking. It was really, really hot then too. But we still saw some cool stuff at Fern Clyffe State Park, Giant City State Park, and my favorite from the trip...the Cache River State Natural Area. It's a beautiful swamp, what's left of a whole wetlands network that used to stretch across the lower portion of the state. Of course we know the rest of the story, how humans came along and just about ruined it, saving a little fragment of it at the eleventh hour. Even the little that's left is very intriguing, with features that seem more like what you'd expect much further South, such as Cypress and tupelo trees.

I was bound to like it anyway. I love swamps, bogs, wetlands, marshes, sloughs...whatever you name it, if it's watery and reedy, I think it's wonderful.

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