Sometimes what we love our friends for is how comfortable we are with them – for all of the interests we share – for all of the time when we’re on exactly the same page. But sometimes we love our friends for the ways in which they take us outside of the comfortable and expected and nudge us into things that we would almost certainly not do on our own. And once in awhile it’s a matter of being dragged kicking and screaming (figuratively if not literally) into something which turns out to be SUCH a neat experience.
I think Kathy and I experienced that on Saturday night when we headed out to the Bong Nature Preserve – a beautiful state park west of Kenosha – for something called the Luminary Walk. Between 7 and 9, the main trail through the park (just over two miles long) was lined with luminaries (each one a lit candle in a bag of sand) . . . and it was a chance to experience the beauty of the park in an uncommon sort of way.
Kathy and I love the natural world, but mostly in a Pretty Picture Hanging on the Wall sort of way or in a Watching Nature Documentaries on the National Geographic Channel sort of way. But getting out there in the midst of nature itself is not something either of us are inclined to do. . . although Kathy does better than I do by suggesting the occasional walk with the dogs along the lakeshore. So this peaceful walk through Bong felt like a bit of an adventure, which is probably a laughable notion for some of you who go sky diving one weekend and scuba diving the next. But for us this was a walk on the wild side. . . even if it was just a walk, and a rather peaceful one at that. What made it a bit of an adventure was in not knowing exactly where this trail was going to take us – and as night descended, we basically had only the luminaries and the stars to help us find our way. (Okay, okay – when it got really dark, I borrowed someone’s little flashlight. Falling and breaking a hip fifteen miles from the nearest hospital is not my idea of fun.) And one of the neatest things about the walk – and something I never even expected, going into it – was that we would have a spectacular view of the night sky, something that is all but impossible for those of us who live in the city. What a delight this was! And as the resident stargazer in the group, I had the fun of pointing a few constellations and first magnitude stars to an entirely captive audience. (I love being Mr. Know It All – insufferably so. )
Anyway, there is no way we would have been on this walk had we not received for an invitation from the Barrows, Conners and Veltmans. . . so let’s hear it for the way in which friends broaden our horizons and manage to get us off the couch, out of the house, and out in the woods where the wild things are!
pictured above: the beginning of the 2-mile trail we followed. In the early going, there were quite a few illuminaries – but once we were way out there, the illuminaries were few and far between. But that’s what made it especially beautiful.