Today Phillip, Trevor, Caitlin and I took one final walk together in Illinois. Evan decided to stay home, which turned out to be a good thing, because this was almost a two-hour walk. We covered most of the ground we have trod for 14 years now, heading first to a park and then to a nature preserve not far from our house. We took Willard, our dog, with us. Willard is the third of our dogs to walk these paths (the first was Giselle, who came with us from Texas, and the second was Shiloh, who lived all of her nine years in Illinois).
Have you ever watched Survivor? We haven't watched it for some years now, but we used to. Toward the end of each season, the last few, remaining survivors take a final walk on which they stop, in turn, at torches representing the already eliminated players. At each torch they share a few words of remembrance about that player. We decided to spend our last walk in the Chicago suburbs similarly, pausing at favorite stops as we reviewed our time here. We spent the first half of our walk on the years 2000-2005, and the second half on 2006-2011. We ran out of time for 2012 and 2013 but decided that was a good thing since those years are still quite fresh (in some cases, too fresh). It was fitting that we had our two adult children on this farewell walk, as they were with us when we came to Chicago. We kicked off our northern Illinois adventure with a seven and four-year-old; we leave it with a twenty-one, eighteen, and ten-year-old.
Walking to the trout farm.
At the trout farm.
With the one who doesn't let me fall.
Home--for about one more week.