Friday night I flew to Kansas City to join my wife in a visit to my in-laws.
Saturday morning my wife and I went to Weston Bend State Park, near Weston, Missouri. We walked a three mile trail through deep woods with immense understory plants. We saw wild raspberries along the ground. We heard and saw many birds--tanagers, red-winged blackbirds, cardinals and many things I don't recognize.
We saw a white winged ghost flitting above us--the elusive zebra swallowtail, the most enchanting of the north American butterflies. It hovered above as if ethereally inspired, and then floated away. I felt my breath intake, in utter delight.
We climbed high, to overlook the Missouri River. We saw the place where Lewis and Clark had passed, 200 years ago. I thought to myself that I live in a young country, and I have seen 45 of those 200 years. This sense of things being settled and "the way things are" is so human, and so natural and so historically short-sighted.
We went into the town of Weston, 1600 souls living in a sea of history. We saw a snake relaxing in a spruce tree. We ate vegetable soup in a downtown cafe. The Weston historical museum had letters written from Abraham Lincold to a woman who rejected his courtship suit. The town was 5,000 souls once, when 5,000 was a huge number. But conflict between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions ended the town's growth and importance. The desire for cheap labor, even at the cost of oppressing others, poisoned this town as it did so many in that era.
I saw an exhibit about Frederick Starr, a Presbyterian minister who stood up for the right thing, and was hounded from town for teaching slaves to read. I saw a spinning wheel, and learned for the first time that the "weasel" in "Pop! goes the weasel" is a spinning reference rather than a critter reference. We drove rural roads through wooded hills and fields. I love that part of Missouri.
We ate dinner in Prairie Village with my in-laws, at a charming place called Cafe Provencal, where I had a Dover sole, done simply without the butter sauce, and a few escargot. We strolled through an art festival nearby. We later watched the news as thunderstorms rolled through the area, but largely missed us.
This morning we had brunch with my wife's sisters and their families. We heard tales of a Fir Ball, to support an animal shelter, in which the participants dressed in the way they dressed to walk their pets. My plane was delayed so that I could not get to my Weight Watchers meeting on time. I read a magazine about video games on the plane home, which convinced me that they are all to violent for me. I also read an article about eBay which interested me in a business magazine. Later, I had dinner with business acquaintances.
I'm glad to be home, although I really enjoyed my visit north. I'm lucky to have good family and good in-laws.