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Thanksgiving takes us up to Evanston, just north of Chicago for a reliably delicious meal and good company at Ruth's sister's house. We normally stay with Ruth's parents in Lombard, Illinois, and in prior years did so at nearby Elmhurst.

I have always enjoyed my autumn visits there, but never got any clear impression that there was much more to the area beyond suburban dwellings, shopping malls, roads and railways. Even the parks I had visited before seemed pressed up against or snaked by buildings.

This time, though, I got a very different impression. Ruth and I had stayed overnight at a hotel in Lombard and in the morning after decided to find some more open country. After a short drive west on Butterfield Road, we came across this delightful park, Hidden Lake Forest Preserve.

The sun was still low in the sky when we got there, and it was cool, crisp morning. Clear and bright.We found a path leading into the woods and did indeed find a hidden lake. Not visible from the entrance or the road that passed nearby. A smooth gravel track led around it, and we followed it. At the far end, there was a shallow path down towards the water's edge, and the trees around were decorated with fisherman's float caught in the branches. The effect was much like looking at a Christmas tree.

Afterwards, we wandered further through the park's wetlands, glistening in the low, bright sunlight.

The silhouettes of buildings and power lines against the horizon reminded me the proximity of the surrounding development, but this small nature reserve managed to give the area a much more rural aura than I'd ever felt before. This made me feel very contented.

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