The difficulty I faced in attempting to snag a nice photo for you of the wonderful Morton Arboretum made me think of the famous first line of Tolsoy’s novel Anna Karenina:
Все счастливые семьи похожи друг на друга, каждая несчастливая семья несчастлива по-своему.
Unfortunately, I don’t know any Russian, so the thought only baffled me. I used Babelfish to change the Cyrillic into Hangul and wound up with this:
모든 행복한 가족은 서로에게 유사하다, 각 불운한 가족 그것의 자신의 방법으로 불운하다.
If anything, even more opaque to me. So I tried again. I entered the Korean into Babelfish and chose English as the target language. The result:
All unhappy with method of it oneself of the family which is unhappy the family which is happy is similar, each is.
That’s what I was looking for!
As I was saying, I was reminded of these gnomic words while a-wandering through the confines of the Morton Arboretum just a Big Rock’s throw west of us in misty Lisle IL. The expansive-as-your-average-suburb tree park is so picturesque, no matter where you stand or what in direction you look, that it’s impossible to take an un-perfect photo. You could set your camera on time delay, toss it at random in the air, and still come up with a cover for Midwest Living.
This was a problem for me because I wanted to take a distinctive photo — one that would show my NW public what a swell wilderness the Arboretum is, but which didn’t look like every other leafy demi-Eden in the North Temperate Zone. I mean, look:
Where is this? Sherwood Forest? No, wait — there goes Natty Bumppo. Must be upstate New York. Or was that Jubal Sackett? Okay, Virginny it is… Ha! Gotcha! We’re still in Lisle.
Besides being a lovely work in its own right, the sign also reminds the weary hiker — beginning to worry, perhaps, that he is the Last Man on Earth — of the civilized world out there beyond the wilds, a world of elephants and school buses.
And the Big Rock itself? What of it? Well, you must travel to Lisle to see it for yourself. No photo, either chemical or digital, has ever been made of this brooding remnant of the Phanerozoic Age.