In the spring of 2006, we took a photography trip to Kentucky. I had seen pictures from Spring Mill State Park in Southern Indiana, and had always wanted to go there. So, when Joann said that she didn’t want to take the tollway (boring), we decided to go south on I-39, and then cross over into Indiana via Moonshine, Illinois. Granted, this was not the most direct route, but we’re shunpikers after all. And we decided to make Spring Mill State Park our stop for the first night.
Many states have some state parks with lodges and this park was one of them. We decided to stay at the lodge so we were in the park. That way, if the lighting was better at night, we could take our pictures of the mill and historic village and leave early the next morning. But if the lighting wasn’t good at night, we would be at the park and could go to the mill early the next morning.
We arrived at the park and checked in, and then headed off to the historic village to see the grist mill. It was the perfect time of year to be there with the redbud trees in bloom and the early greens of spring, but the lighting wasn’t quite right. We couldn’t help but take pictures that night anyway, but we decided to return the next morning to see if the lighting would be any better.
The grounds around the village are filled with redbud trees and white dogwood trees. There are also stone walls and arches surrounding the garden.
As we packed up the car the next morning, a large van towing a trailer full of lawn equipment pulled up and a lot of men dressed in khaki jumped out of the van and started quickly mowing and weed-whacking all around the lodge. It was all Joann could do to get a couple of pictures of the lodge before we headed off on our way back to the mill. I couldn’t believe how little socializing was going on with the men, but I didn’t really think much more about it.
We headed down the road into the park toward the historic village to check the lighting and get some more pictures. Since we can’t seem to get anywhere without stopping, we were waylaid by a stone arch bridge, a pair of blue-gray gnatcatchers building a nest, and wildflowers along the roadside. After too much time had passed along the roadside we decided we had better hightail it to the mill before the lawn care people made it down there.
We hurried to the mill and started taking photos. The village is in a valley with a stream running through the middle of it. As we walked around the mill, the sky became more and more ominous and we knew it was just a matter of time before the rain came. I was carrying the umbrella and trailing along behind Joann trying to stay out of the way so she could get as many photographs as possible before the rain.
And then the van pulled up and the lawn care men were again swarming all over the place. Joann would line up a shot and just as she was about to snap the picture, one of them would come out from behind the building or a fence with their mower or weed-whacker.
As we stood waiting to take some pictures along the sidewalk, one of the men came walking hurriedly toward us. Joann was lining up her shot, and he got a worried look on his face.
She took her eye from the viewfinder and the conversation went like this:
Joann: “Want your picture taken?”
Lawn care guy: “You don’t want to take my picture.”
Joann (jokingly): “Why? Don’t you want to see yourself displayed in the post office?” (referring to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, which used to be displayed prominently in post offices across the country).
Lawn care guy (sheepishly): “Well, we’re all prisoners.”
Duh! These weren’t lawn care people, they were state prisoners and the state of Indiana was smart enough to make them work for a good cause. No wonder no one was socializing!
Shortly after that encounter, it did begin to rain and we ran into the mill to take cover. As we were waiting for the rain to stop or at least ease up, Joann noticed the views out the doors and decided to take some more pictures.
We left as soon as the rain let up enough for us to get back to the car, but we want to return there someday to explore the areas of the park that we didn’t get to. It seems that even though we think we know a lot when we leave on a trip, we always find more information about things we missed after we get home. Oh well, another excuse to go back through Southern Indiana on our way to somewhere!