by Carolyn Trower

What a great weekend it was. The weather was the perfect blend of late summer/early autumn. Monday morning the fog still formed ghostly shadows on the back tree line as I stepped out on the porch. Its cool dampness hung over the yard and the road making the view into town seem miles away. The dew was heavy on the grass as I walked across the yard and a sparkling spiderweb glistened between the posts of the deck. From her perch high in the maple tree a blue jay scolded the barn cat. The cat looked up with a scornful smirk before continuing on her way, not at all concerned with her noisy neighbor’s displeasure. When I headed out of town the fog was still casting gauzy shadows and the buildings hid in a grey swirl of mist. The cattails in the ditches shimmered with the light of the brightening sun and the corn waved its tassels in the early morning breeze. Such times as these make me glad to be alive and in Ralls County.
Taking advantage of a perfect holiday weekend my sister, son, and I headed to the Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal. We’ve attended for the last several years and I always have a good time. The best thing for me is to see all those people coming out in costume and sharing their love for fantasy and science fiction. To me it is the best genre to indulge in because it truly frees your mind and ignites your imagination. When I come face to face with a person dressed as a space cowboy or clad in leather armor and helmet my mind immediately jumps into alternate universes. Steam supplies the power and tea parties have all the fancy fixings of Victorian decorum, but the tea is served with a wicked dose of reality-baiting wit. There is no “normal” and for a few hours I could forget the woes of the world and let my mind bask in what-if scenarios.
Afterwards, we headed to Riverview Park. I wanted to check out the hiking trails there and show my sister the view from the lookout. The sandbar between islands in the river that I had noticed earlier was bigger and there was no indication of movement in the water at all until a pontoon boat came into view. The boat’s slow progression left a faint rippling in the grey-blue water.
We peered over the edge and then decided to follow a foot path leading into the trees to the left. Gradually descending we noticed some of the leaves already turning. Patches of yellow flashed in the bright green foliage and in one tree a bright orange swath that looked as if it had been placed there as a marker for wayward hikers. The path was easily discernable, and we had no trouble following it as it wound its way down. There were several white stalks of fungi along the trail and chattering squirrels that chastised our clumsy descent. But the view was gorgeous. Further down we could see the paved path that followed along the bottom of the bluffs. A look back showed us the steepness of the bluffs and though they weren’t that tall, a fall from the top would not end well.
The way back was a reminder that my knees were a lot older than my curiosity. A final look at the river gave me a chance to catch my breath and we headed home.
The distraction of the day kept worldly concerns away for a time, but like most adults I do worry about the state of our nation. Lots of prayers are lifted each week in our churches for our leaders and the many who suffer from the recent violence and natural disasters. We can also write or email our representatives and let them know how we feel. It is important that they acknowledge the concerns of their constituents. Write or call state Rep. Jim Hansen and Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin; or federal Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, Sen. Roy Blunt and Sen. Josh Hawley.