After my hectic first week back in Illinois in early May (which culminated in a insurance fiasco that postponed my cancer surgery until June), I now had 3 extra weeks on my hands. While I still had plenty of “Pre-Op” errands to-do and lots of local friends to visit, I decided that I first and foremost needed a few days of alone time to be still, fully process my new reality of living with cancer, and to get my internal batteries fully charged and ready for the battles ahead.
Every time I return to the Midwest from a winter spent in the desert southwest, I desperately crave what the desert lacks—water, and the color green! A few years ago, the Springtime Ozarks of southern Missouri recharged and refreshed me. But with time so short this year, I had to look for a nearby retreat. Starved Rock State Park, just 100 miles southwest of Chicago on the Illinois river, would do the trick!
Canyon hikes, waterfalls, lush green forests, and this quote by noted naturalist John Burroughs were sure to inspire:
I go to nature to be soothed and healed,
and to have my senses put in order.