Writing about Illinois Beach got me thinking about some other places I like to go for peace and quiet, particularly outdoor walking places.
At St. Olaf there were two places in particular I liked to go. Mellby Hall, where I lived my sophomore year, has a very nice chapel on the first floor. It's about the size of a dorm room with pews and then an altar and stained glass window with a depiction of Psalm 23 in the front of the room. The chapel is kind of dimly lit and was always a great place to go and pray and especially to reflect on God's care. "The Lord is my shepherd...." The other place was the Norway Valley Nature Trail. The trail started into the woods near Larson Hall and wound around the side of the hill until it came out at the path leading down the hill from Flatten and the old music building. I think it led down to the French House, maybe. Norway Valley got its name from the Norway pines that prominent in the woods there. It was a great place to walk in any season, but especially during a good snowfall. The highlight of the Norway Valley trail for me was the monument to Rev. Ole O. Fugleskjell of the class of 1906 (I think). A few years after he graduated, "In the service of Christ became lost in the woods near Spooner, Mn., and perished from the cold." Then it quotes the verse, "Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it." I first came on the trail when I was a freshman and discouraged after a disappointing youth retreat. It meant a lot to be able to go back there throughout school and be reminded of what was important in life and of the beauty of God's world.
Since moving to Illinois I've found other places. When I lived at the synagogue it was nice to go up on our roof and look out over the lake, especially at night. Lake County has a very nice nice park and forest preserve system. I like to go to Independence Grove in Libertyville or to Century Park in Vernon Hills and walk around the lakes. If I'm in more of a woods mood then I like to go Daniel Wright Woods or the Half Day Forest Preserve and walk on the Des Plaines River Trail or just through some of the woods trails. The preserves are all more crowded than has been Illinois Beach when I've visited but they still allow for good times of peace and reflection. There's a place where the DPR Trail crosses the river north of the Wright Woods Preserve just below a dam on the river that is a good place to go and stand on the bridge and watch and listen to the river as flows by. I like that place.
So what about you? Where do you like to go for peace and reflection?