Sunday, September 2, 2007

I returned a few hours ago from my home town of Westchester, Illinois, a mere 13 miles from downtown Chicago, visiting with my sister and her girlfriend. Since they're both training for a marathon, we decided to take our runs, as my sis reported, on a bit of land that's near the last of the prairies in Illinois.

A trailhead greeted me about 14 minutes into my run, a trail that I'd traveled down about 50 feet many times as a child. It was singletrack, wet, green, and beautiful! I rushed in at full sprint, dodging several fallen trees, tip-toeing past 2 deer, and rushing across piles of poison ivy. This was unbelievable! This had been here my entire life as a kid? It smelled so damned FRESH everywhere! Well, and incredibly stinky, due to the creek, but I was awed by the sights and smells of something I'd taken for granted my whole life.

I breezed along the shady track until I came upon an asphalt bike path that stretched along Salt Creek, where my sister and her girlfriend and I converged, shared some typical "how's it going?" words, and then split off.

After 1 1/2 hours, I emerged from the woods and decided to tack on another 30 minutes by running up to my high school. I was a tourist, on foot; in my hometown for the first time in at least 6 years, and it was eye-opening. All of the views I took for granted in my youth were opened to me with an outsider's eye; all the little, strange intricacies that constructed my past became blaringly apparent and unique.

Aslo unique and eye-opening:

Westchester's old motto:

"A good place to live."

Westchester's improved motto:

"A good place to live...and shop."

No joke.


Dusty said...

Sounds like fun. I love going for runs in my old neighborhood, of course my old neighborhood is desert - this sounds so lush and beautiful. The motto update is pretty funny.

ReneeMc said...

Aaaaah....LaGrange! It was good seeing you, sucka, and for the record I have 2 itch mite bites.

stephruns said...

Must be a great feeling coming home and running on a trail you know from your childhood. I'm surprised it's still there - really. All the places I used to hang out as a child are gone - fields have turned into apartment villages and cherry trees we used to climb are long dead. I wish I could return one more time. Lucky YOU:-)

No Wetsuit Girl... overseas! said...

I needed that (a lot) since I'm DEFINITIVELY making the crawl back on my knees to my home town after (counts on fingers) 6 years living thousands of miles away. So it IS cool to like the place where you grew up? I'm glad you and Renee both had a good time home on the range and you managed to coordinate your concurrent running endeavors!

michelle said...

It was a great trail, even if my itch mite bite still itches.