Lost in the Woods
I could title this post “How Tabula Rasa Led Us All Astray (sort of)”, but I won’t.
This past weekend was a bit crazy for me. On Saturday Tabula Rasa and I went out and had a full day of wandering with no buildings explored, not for lack of trying. We just found ourselves in a place with a few good buildings that were locked up and impossible to explore. In the end we ended up at Morton Arboretum, but this is not that story.
Sunday we had made plans for a larger than usual group (as in more than 3 of us), Tabula Rasa, BentBottle and I were going to take some friends to a couple of our favorite locations to show them around. We ended up off in the southwest suburbs looking for a graveyard. In a forest preserve.
The Bachelor’s Grove graveyard is one of those popular local “haunted” places, mainly by virtue of being really old by American standards and being located in a slightly creepy part of the woods. Literally. Tabula Rasa knew where Bachelor’s Grove Woods were, and being the human GPS that he is we trusted him to lead us to the graveyard with few problems. We struck out on the trail with more than a bit of excitement and enjoying the early spring song of frogs. In retrospect that was probably our first clue that we were not where we thought we were.
Soon enough we came to end of the trail. It was not a graveyard though. Instead we found the home of the frogs that had been serenading us all along our way down our rather short walk. We were faced a choice, do we go back down the trail and see if we can find another way around to the graveyard that we think is there, or do we strike out off the trail and walk around the pond to see if we can find it?
I freely confess that I agreed we should try walking around it, and I was the tie-breaker vote. Silly me. Tabula Rasa broke out his magical technological device known as a “cell phone” and loaded up the GPS, you know, so we wouldn’t get lost.
We quickly found a game trail that, as game trails do, quickly petered out into nothing. We found ourselves slogging through mud and shallow flooded prairie and I discovered that my previously waterproof shoes had developed a leak sometime over the winter. As we squished our way around the pond we realized that (as the city folk we are) none of us really had any idea of what direction we were headed in. We could hear the sound of far off traffic from our right, but that was it.
At this point I decided if I was going to be stomping around the woods in the early spring I had better find something interesting to photograph. We had kind of spread out and everyone was taking a slightly different path, just keeping Tabula Rasa in sight and following his general direction. Our merry little band of adventurers was rapidly turning into a sweating and overheating band of mildly concerned doubters.
We found ourselves back on the edge of the pond, and decided to take a bit of breather so our fearless leader could explain to us that he thought he had found the graveyard on the GPS, we just needed to head off in “this” direction. Jo took the time to show us all up and conquer a tree while we tried to revive ourselves.
During our little break I noticed something odd about the moss of the fallen trees around us. It seemed, shaggier, than regular moss.
At some point I began thinking we were living in a post-apocalyptic world searching for the bastion of humanity. We bravely headed off in the direction indicated to us by the person with the magical direction-finding device, acquiring new bruises in the process. (The largest of my bruises is amusingly bird shaped. And hurts. A lot.)
Then we found the parking lot and drove the mile to the part of the forest preserve where the graveyard was actually located. Tabula Rasa, being the person that he is, was immensely proud of himself for leading us ALL THE WAY AROUND THE POND and back to the parking lot. I, being the person I am, mentioned that he had bothered to consult his magical technological device BEFORE we headed out we would not have to walk around the pond.
I did neglect to mention that perhaps I had really enjoyed our little adventure in the woods, and would like to do it again someday, but I did imply it.