Well, actually this is a photo of me wearing my Kohlrabi Black Belt shirt back in Oregon. But since I bought it from a quirky creative artist, Larry Steinbauer, at a Champaign-Urbana Saturday market, it counts as an image of Illinois.
I love it. I wore it during a visit to the Rantoul Air Museum, and I'm wearing it today – after getting back from the flatlands of America yesterday (I got another Steinbauer t-shirt that says: "Champaign: in the foothills of mount level").
The Kohlrabi shirt's message is from the renowned Turnip Cabbage IV, "Be inwardly strong but gentle to others." Just like kohlrabi itself, or so I assume, not having a recollection of ever eating it.
I did take the shirt off Monday when Laurel's sister and brother-in-law, Dee and Jerry, took us to Allerton Park near Monticello. Robert Allerton, who gave his estate to the University of Illinois in 1946, had a thing for Chinese Fu Dogs and other statuary. Fortunately, my Napili Bay t-shirt matched the purplish Fu Dogs. (you can see how happy this one is about that)
The centerpiece of the family reunion was Lexie, a bundle of cute. I quickly learned that baby photography is tricky, given the ever-changing subject. Here I managed to capture her in an equine contemplative moment with her mother, Monica. The horse is Dee's.
And here's part of the woods, a stately heartland tree with a swing that pleads, "Sit a spell."
I enjoyed the scenery and general vibe of central Illinois more than I thought I would. We Oregonians are justifiably proud of our towering fir trees and high mountains, but there's something equally majestic about being able to look forever in every direction – nestled in the foothills of mount level.
(Which reminds me: if you find you can't live without a Kohlrabi Black Belt or Champaign t-shirt, Steinbauer can be reached via his art gallery, Wind Water and Light. He told me that he hasn't gotten around to putting his t-shirt creations online yet, but would be happy to fill an order over the phone.)