today, in celebration of my 30th (yes, 30th) birthday my beloved and I gathered some blankets, sweet books, spring jackets and delicious banana bread (thank you Kevin & Christina) to spend a day in the woods and largest prairie (Goose Lake Prairie State Park) east of the Mississippi (a fact we learned on our little adventure today). upon reaching the wet-lands and marsh prairies of Goose Lake we enjoyed a long walk together and later enjoyed a picnic in the park. not long after we found ourselves wandering throughout the DesPlaines Conservation Area where we basked in the sunlight walking alongside riverbeds, lakes and blossoming wooded areas. hand in hand we enjoyed exposing hidden treasures (two beautiful feathers, hibernating insects, an in-tact skeleton of an unknown small creature, varieties of nuts & beautiful lichen), exploring indigenous prairie birds and plants, climbing abandon barns, conversing, tossing a few rocks with our new slings, and often finding out feet quite soggy from the receding flooded plains. it was such a joy to scout out new trails and places for retreat.
afterwords, we headed back to chicago for or spiritual gathering and found ourselves having dinner with Andre, a young 17 year old boy who has taken some time (by AWOL) off of his residential treatment to "get some fresh air." such a good kid.
to bring a perfect conclusion to this day of celebration my cherished friends had prepared a yummy vegan cake, vegan banana split cupcakes (from Vegan Cupcakes take Over the World - both creations of Amy) and showered the evening with inspirational gifts and laughter. thanks friends!
as for the rest of the evening - we are home after a wonderful day's journey with sun-kissed skin, dirty toes (and hands) with another decade waiting to be explored. thanks to each of you for your wonderful birthday wishes, sweet messages, e-mails & notes.
and to tickle your appetites for what's occurring in our backyard...