Pere Marquette

One of my last days in St. Louis, we went on an early morning roadtrip to hike Pere Marquette, a park north of the city in Illinois named for Jacques Marquette, a French missionary from Joliet’s expedition. We loaded Walker (the German Shepherd I was dog sitting) into the back of Lizard’s car, eating breakfast on the way. It wasn’t even eight, but it felt like mid-afternoon.  I took a photo through my sunglasses, thinking this might capture the oppressive heat.


We both wore borrowed ballcaps,
(an unusual accessory for me),
to shield our faces from the sun.

Hiking Trail MapWhen we arrived, a map showed the path we wanted to take leading off from the corner of the lower parking lot, where we parked. Beyond a swamp which had formed from recent flooding, there was only brush visible, but trusting the map as the authority of these woods, I insisted on investigating further, only to find myself with muddy shoes and an irrationally high level of frustration with the map’s obvious inaccuracy. Lizard was unfazed, but I really felt that the map should be correct. Satellite views have taught me that anything on my phone screen is “truth,” or at least used to exist exactly as shown.

Ultimately we found our route beginning elsewhere, and  traced our way along the trail to the overlook at the top. Here, frustrations ceased.

The flooded waterways made green and blue take turns, striping their way to the horizon. We stopped to pray while Walker rested her aging joints. She was thirsty  when we finished.

We spent the next mile of our hiking sharing differences in our prayer habits. Lizard’s structured prayer provides discipline which my practice lacks. Discussing the specific things she prayed for reminded me of areas I’m not particularly mindful about. While I love the ability to feel free to talk to God about anything, I think I would really benefit from a period of liturgical prayer, and would like to look at possibility for prayer books.All in all, a beautiful day together enjoying creation.
 Silver & Lizard


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