October 3, 2016

the wondrous journeys still to be ours...

Good morning! Somehow Mondays are a little easier to face when you have had made all sorts of happy memories.  We spent the weekend in one of our favorite little towns, with weather that was rather mist-ical... 

while the decor was definitely moose-tical!

This guy kept a close watch on our comings and goings.  I couldn't quite decide if the moose head at our resort was quaint and charming in a "cabin-y" sort of way or just kind of creepy.

I could even venture to say part of our time was downright mystical...even magical!

Yes, it was our annual trip to Galena, Illinois, where you feel transported back in time to the  Civil War as you stroll down Main Street..  You can almost hear the swishing of ladies' hoop skirts as they shop in the same stores that line the streets today, and almost glimpse the men decked out in their finest suits and top hats, puffing their cigars as they stand outside the DeSoto Hotel to watch Lincoln and Douglas debate from the second floor balcony.

We love walking down Main Street, admiring the architecture and shopping in the eclectic shop offerings.  But I am always glancing upwards at the upper story windows that line the old brick shops...

because it's easy to sense that behind one of those  lace curtains someone from a different era may be watching me.  

See what I mean?!

And of course, President Grant has the perfect setting to watch over his beloved city.  I wonder what he and Julia Dent Grant think of the automobiles that now line the streets instead of buggies, and the canoes and kayaks that drift down the Galena River instead of the mighty steamboats?  

We had such fun shopping, sightseeing, and enjoying the different cultures...dinner one night at a Irish pub, complete with shepherd's pie and Irish dancing, and dinner the following night at a wonderful Italian restaurant.  It was a family run business that has been there forever, and as we sat at our table with the glow of candlelight bathing our red tablecloth and the vintage pictures of Italy on the walls in a soft light you could easily lose track of what year it was. We also celebrated all things German at the Galena Oktoberfest, and I'll share a few pictures from the festival later this week.  

But I think my favorite thing to do in Galena is simply wander the streets and try to imagine all the stories and history that are contained within the shops, the churches and and the stately brick mansions of another era. Even though the weather wasn't "perfect" for Galena's Oktoberfest weekend, it certainly didn't put a damper on our fun.  Poet Mary Oliver can turn even the rain into a joyful occasion, as she reflects in her poem below:
Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing
under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,
and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment
my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain –
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours. 
 I hope I have many more long and wondrous journeys with my husband in the years to come - we are looking ahead to new adventures, but today I'll carry Oliver's words in my heart, and be a tree with happy leaves, or like the rain drops, filled with joy to return to the earth from the clouds above. It's another way of saying that today is a good day for a good day!

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