It’s cold here in Southern Illinois, and my weather taste buds are all set for summer. Garden of the Gods sits in the Shawnee National Forest, a perfect place for summer picnics, camping, hiking, and falling off steep cliffs and rock animals. Parents pack up the kiddies and the hot dogs and then hold their breath until those parents get those kiddies back on to more secure footing; a place where hippies (yes, there still are some) come to fill the air with a certain sweet tobacco aroma and bask in nature; a spot to enjoy the beauty and quiet of God’s world.
As you can see from the photo, the glaciers all those millions of years ago made some rather interesting sculptures. This one is called Camel Rock, but perhaps it should have been named Bull Rock because some young buck is always getting thrown from that camel’s back into the thick brush below. Every summer some drunken fool (or not so drunken — just a fool) thinks he (don’t recall any females) can jump from the surrounding rocks to the camel’s head. And every summer the police scanners around the rural countryside cackle with the call for ambulances and rescue teams.
My friends and I used to come to this garden, this Garden of the Gods, and make camp for the weekend. We had hair down to our butts (even the guys) and threw tents up or just laid a blanket on the ground or in the back of a pickup truck. We cooked food over a fire (best kind there is at that age) and drank cheap wine. It seems as though it wasn’t so long ago my feet thought they could fly, too.