Gentle Readers everywhere,
The Autumnal Equinox has come and gone quietly on our shoulders and October is with us in all the cool weather and Fall splendor. Here in Chicago the temperatures have already dipped to the 40s at night and the slanting, warm sun shine during the day is a welcome friend against the chill winds. Once again the weather stations are calling for a fierce Winter this year and I am in awe of the wonders of seasonal climate change. How amazing it is to have Summers and Winters and Springs and Falls one after the other in a cascade of colors and plants. Also sprouting like yellow and orange leafs on branch tips are the coats, scarves, wraps, ponchos, and hats; suddenly the T shirts and tank tops are gone and the colors of winter gear pop up like the falling leafs themselves.
Coming from the rural South I am missing the Fall festivals and cider presses that herald the change in season. One must travel out of the big city to partake of the small town offerings so my beloved husband bundled the two of us into the car with our dog and drove me to the Hamilton Geode Festival in Hamilton, Illinois. When I rock hound I do not require a glamorous hotel so we had our free breakfast at the Super8 in Keokuck then drove into Hamilton while the sun was rising. Tents and small town vendors ringed the edge of a parking lot that belonged to the local boat ramps while a thin part of the river flowed by in lazy splendor. People had their dogs out and children ran around while the adults signed up and then waited for the drive out to the specific farms. With my fibromyalgia I had to ask for a farm that was not labor intensive. At the back of the path through Renard’s soy bean fields was a line of shady trees and tall grasses by a creek. I must admit I am so used to quarries and at least the presence of a back hoe that I wasn’t sure where to go for the geodes at first but it soon became apparent that the small creek and it’s shallow banks were where the famed keokuck geodes laid. The elderly dog and beloved husband lazily walked around the banks of the creek while I merrily hunted my first geodes and searched for agate balls. If any Gentle Readers ever decide they must have a keokuck geode I will warn you now they are plentiful and easily plucked from farmer’s fields during the festival and yet not all geodes are created equal. I quickly filled my 20 gallon bucket with geodes of potato size and larger plus a piece of sunrise agate. The crazy wonderful thing about the creek was a week ago they had had a flooding storm that washed agates down stream into trees and each other, cracking them open and settling them into the mud. While I am sure that my bucket contains many solid, crystal, cannon balls I found pieces of storm-opened crystal geodes that were passed over by the other hunters because they were not the whole geodes. Once my bucket was filled we piled back into the car and drove back to the festival grounds: booths had popped open offering to crack open geodes for a dollar a geode. Gentle Reader, I am pleased to announce to you that one of my largest, first geodes found was a lovely hallow keokuck geode of tan and brown.
The sun is now setting in pale tones against the buttery yellow bricks of the apartments and the long grey shadows are inside along my living room floor. Dinner will be simple and hearty so I must soon start the potatoes to boiling.
May this new season flow through you with a myriad of blessings and the night kiss your brow gently. Be well.
Gentle Readers everywhere,