I visited Johnson’s Shut-Ins one last time this year, as the park is going to be closed next Monday to attempt to repair the Taum Sauk Dam break. It was too sunny at midday to get much in the way of photos, but I managed a couple.
I passed others out for a last look and we’d usually stop and say hello; repeating to each other how beautiful the Shut-Ins still looked, despite the damage. None of us was very convincing, though. In all honesty, the park isn’t beautiful: not with the debris field like a miniature desert, construction trucks, wire fences, and a river still buried under silt from the flood. There was a lot of green, but none of the tranquility I’ve come to associate with the Shut-Ins. They just looked tired.
It was a good idea to close the park to finish the work. They don’t have to worry about us being underfoot and can take down the fences in order to start clearing the river. Then, in the Spring, they can have a ‘Ta da!’ moment when everyone is allowed into the newly restored park.
There’s a lot to be said for working quietly, out of the eye of the public.