Saturday, April 17, 2010

Southern Indiana

I've been out of the blogosphere while attending a conference at St. Benedict's Monastery in Ferdinand (pronounced FUR-dinend) near Louisville (pronounced Louv-uhhl), Kentucky all week. It has been like being dropped into summer, as the trees are in full leaf and the grass was being mowed when I arrived. The monastery is a gorgeous place (are any of them not gorgeous??) and down the road is the even more impressive (some might say imposing) St. Meinrad Monastery for Benedictine men. If you get a chance to see or stay at either, I recommend it.

What I've loved most have been the dogwood trees. I wish I had a picture, but I left my camera in Chicago and have been feeling the lack of it all week. Dogwoods are very special trees, with dark almost-black trunks and four-petaled white flowers big as saucers. The petals are bruised, or indented in the middle edges. The trees are quite striking, especially among the super-tall spruces, pines, oaks and other trees I can't identify. All the trees here are very, very tall.

The other site we visited, yesterday afternoon, was Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home. It is just a replica, but on the spot where his family's cabin stood. I remember seeing a documentary on his life in this area back hear president's day, and was surprised that he grew up in the woods. I'd always pictured him in a log cabin in Illinois, on the prairie, and walking down long, open prairire roads. But this place is all old-growth forest, very open and light on the day we were there, but definitely dense forest. No vistas or views. It's interesting to think of him, in this extraordinarily small one-room house, casting his vision out on a national scale.

I'm off to another session now-- yes, even Saturday-- but will come back to post a photo of a dogwood flower and some links to Lincoln's birthplace...

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