This week has been lovely in most parts of America. Here in Illinois, it’s been better-than-spring warm weather and sun. It’s only March (generally a chilled and cloudy month) so everyone has been moving about outdoors, soaking in this blessing.
My daughter and went to one of our favorite spots, Lincoln Memorial Gardens. We live in Springfield, Illinois which is the adult home of President Abraham Lincoln. He and his family lived here for over 28 years before his presidency, and he returned to Springfield to be buried in a somber, grand tomb in the Oak Ridge Cemetery. Lincoln Memorial Gardens is a vast natural space cultivated to maintain the wild feel of the natural Illinois landscape as it was when Abe lived here over 150 years ago. According to the website:
The garden is a hundred-acre tract along the shore of Lake Springfield planted with native trees, wildflowers and prairie plants. It is a place where visitors can enjoy nature in all seasons, learn to be stewards of the environment, and discover the relationships among plants, wildlife, water, soil and sunlight in an atmosphere of peace and beauty.
It was such a special day with my daughter as she set free on the trails. We stopped to photograph the words of wisdom on each of the benches throughout the wood. It’s these messages, and their peaceful woodland delivery, that I want to share with my daughter:
Americans (especially Illinoisans) know Abe and recall his contributions to our country proudly. In fact, people all over the world know Abe. If you haven’t had the chance to be immersed into the history of his life, you might need a refresher. A few facts about America’s 16th President:
Lincoln was President during the American Civil War, possibly America’s worst source of pain. The war was predicated on the argument that slaves were property. Abe believed that all people should be free and back this principal with a full and aching conviction. More than three million men fought in the war. Two percent of the population—more than 620,000—died in it.
Abe was assassinated in 1965 while at the theater with his wife and another couple.
Abe was a self-made man out of the Kentucky countryside. He self-educated himself through contact with other inspired people and a saturating love for books and learning.
During his lifetime two of his four sons died prematurely. His wife, Mary, suffered greatly from depression and mental illness. It was these heartaches that accompanied him through his political fight for freedom.
He was a very compelling public speaker, known for his famous speech at Gettysburg, PA where 23,053 Federal (Northern) and 28,063 Confederate (Southern) soldiers were killed.
For more information about Mr. Lincoln, start here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/abrahamlincoln
I can’t think of a better moment: a space of calm, serene nature shared with my daughter in the presence of justice and wisdom.
Where do you go to find peace and inspiration?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Jill Barth of Illinois, USA. She can be found blogging at Small Things Honored.
Photo credit to the author.
We head directly to the Atlantic Ocean! On days when we’ve had a rough day, or I’m at my wit’s end, I pack up the kids, pack up some snacks, and we head to the beach. If it’s winter, we park and look at the ocean from the car. If it’s spring or fall, we get out and collect sea shells and other marine treasures. If it’s summer, we pack our lunch, don our bathing suits, and play in the sand! When it’s just my husband and I, we go to a boardwalk to walk and talk.
I feel very connected to the ocean, since I grew up so close to it. I hope my daughters will find that same connection with nature.
How wonderful! A friend and I were just talking about the benefits (mental washing and cleansing not the least of which) of living near water!
Jill – your outing sounds wonderful! I have never been to the Lincoln Memorial Gardens, but you paint a lovely picture of it.
I go to nature to find peace and inspiration. I love to hike and just be out in the woods. In fact, today, I took my toddler on a hike to clear my head, get some exercise, and generally unplug from it all. I always come back from a hike feeling mentally recharged, although physically exhausted 😉
Thanks for sharing! Nothing like spending time outside with little ones!
I’m very impressed with Lincoln too, ever since I learned about the challenges he faced (especially domestically) and how he was a very smart politician, inviting people from the other side into his counsel. Not many people could have pulled the country back together the way he did.
So glad you said that… We’ve grown familiar with Lincoln as a monolith but the strain and pressure of his life is more than inspiring. His values and drive made us all better for the pain.
I love all those quotes! What a great place to go and reflect; lucky you. We have a small forest nearby which feels like it’s filled with ancient beings (it’s about 30 years old!) I feel my blood pressure drop every time I walk through it. Ahhhhh trees.
It’s so true, we respond physically to nature!
This might sound strange but I actually took “mental pictures” of extraordinary sunsets or other beautiful locations all my life. By that I mean that I would specifically say to myself “how beautiful – I want a picture of this” and fix it in my memory. Now, whenever I need that moment of peace, I just bring to mind that beautiful sunset or whatever and enjoy it all over again! 🙂
I love the quotes you photographed! Thank you for sharing your special place with us.