Here, more than maybe anywhere else I’ve been on my travels for this show, is where my eyes opened in a new way. I’ve frequently said I’d been a Chicago snob, unaware of what treasures the rest of the state held in store for me. Standing on those rocks, gazing over the sea of green as far as I could see, I felt so humbled by the beauty of nature. And pleased that it was right here in my home state. I know I made the comment on camera that I hear others say too, something to the effect that this scene I was witnessing was nothing I would imagine seeing in Illinois. But as soon as it came out of my mouth, while Tom was rolling tape, I heard the arrogance of that statement. From my Chicago-centric point of view, sure, this was surprising. But to say it was hard to imagine this being in Illinois only betrayed my ignorance of the great variety of scenery and beauty the state has to offer. I wonder if natives of Cairo and Metropolis come to Chicago and say, “Wow, I saw all these skyscrapers and traffic and people – it was hard to believe I was in Illinois.”
Ranger Jeff made it clear there were dozens of other sights to visit in the Shawnee National Forest, many just as breathtaking as Garden of the Gods and Rim Rock. I really want to get back here. Any remember, this is where George Harrison came with his sister Louise in 1963. So if it was good enough for a Beatle it’s good enough for me. One small disappointment about going on tour like this is that we are working nearly the whole time, or traveling to the next place. We arrive, set up to shoot, shoot, dismantle and hit the road again. You, dear viewer, have the luxury of coming to these spots and truly unwinding. I hope you do it.