Flowers, Illinois

A weekend in Southern Illinois

Just got home from a weekend in Southern Illinois, where it stormed and rained all weekend. An F3 tornado hit the St. Louis airport, which is just an hour East of my family (I was visiting for Easter.) Anyway, I got some really pretty pictures I want to share with you. It wasn’t exactly a huge vacation, but it was travel all the same!

So, I pulled off I-57 at the Watson/Mason exit Thursday and was greeted by a long line of stopped cars waiting for a road crew to let traffic pass. They were resurfacing the road in between storms. Anyway, I snapped a few pictures of the overflowing Little Wabash River while we were stopped. It’s funny how the river ebbs and flows… one day, it’s flooded, the next day you can see the fields again… and still one day later, it’s flooded once more.

Little Wabash river

There was still snow on the ground when I left my home in Wisconsin Thursday, so I couldn’t believe just how green everything was once I got down south. I’m back home today, and we still don’t have any green trees here yet!

I took a lot of flower pictures this weekend, since there aren’t a whole lot of flowers blooming here yet either. I’m still waiting for my puny little tulips to open up. I don’t think the snow, sleet and hail last week did them any favors.

Bluebells in the woodsThese bluebells, pictured left, are some of my all-time favorite flowers. I used to pick them by the armful along the creek (“crick” where I come from) by my grandparents’ house when I was a kid. We’d all tramp out into the woods this time of year to hunt morel mushrooms. Everyone else would find mushrooms, and I’d pick flowers.

Anyway, when I was a teenager, I decided to plant my own garden on my parents’ property, and I went out in the woods and dug up a few of these bluebells to plant in my dirt patch. There’s not much left of my garden now that I’m no longer there to weed it, but these bluebells are spreading all across my parents’ back yard and into the woods.

Wild violets in springEveryone still hunts mushrooms this time of year around Southern Illinois. I hear them city folk think morels are a delicacy, and I guess they are, but where I grew up, everyone eats em. I know my family loves scouring the woods looking for patches. Unfortunately, I was just always too busy picking flowers to pay attention to anything else. Now I only get to eat fried mushrooms if I just happen to be home the right time of year.

Around Southern Illinois, wild violets like these at right, are another common sight. We used to have lots of these in my back yard in Milwaukee as well, but I don’t see them as much now that I’ve moved a bit farther north.

I enjoyed a little bit of sunshine this weekend, but for the most part, it rained pretty much the entire time I was there. Not just a little shower here and there, but great, world-drenching rains that flooded the river and turned the yard into absolute mush. It didn’t feel dreary to me though, because this is what I grew up with. To me, vicious thunderstorms are what spring is all about.

Anyway, this blog post is getting pretty long, so I guess I’ll sign off now. But, before I go, I’ll just share a few more flower pictures. I saw these purple fields just south of Forrest, IL this afternoon on my drive home and had to pull my car over to snap a few pics. I don’t remember ever seeing anything like this when I was growing up, so maybe this is something that only happens in a specific part of Illinois. Either that, or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention back then!

purple flowers purple flowers

purple flowers purple flowers purple flowers

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