You're Not So Special

Is it time to take those coronavirus goggles off? Is it time once again to file those "I'm a victim" feelings away? Is it time to tell yourself that you're not so special? Is that even possible anymore?


The world is harsh for everyone, no matter what you might believe.

When you come from nothing with no advantage or support, it can be hard to convince yourself that you have the same opportunities as everyone else. But, why not? It is worthless to believe the world is against you and cheats you out of success. You tell yourself, “I’m special. The world is against ONLY me.” Psst… The world is harsh for everyone, no matter what you might believe. And while it is true that cruelty, unfairness, mistrust, jealousy, and greed visit some more than others, there is not a magic wand of protection from life’s trials and tribulations for anyone. You are not special because life is tough for everyone—hardships come for us all. And how about this for a kick in the teeth: the longer you let a victim complex hold you down, the more likely you are to miss your chance to be unique for real.


I know some people see the so-called American Dream as just a lie, a political tool, or an insult. No matter where you stand on the American Dream issue, I am happy to report that it is alive and well regardless of what you might call it. But here’s the catch—you have to work for it. Ah, work—the real American Dream.


So start your dream today. It's time to crawl out of that sunken sofa. Go back to school, start that new business, walk your dog. Do something. Do anything. Drag yourself away from the social media trap. Get out there. Live your life and BECOME special.


Keep trying. Keep asking. Keep knocking. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Holding others down has been the weapon of choice of the ugly and bitter amongst us since time began. The 573 Magazine does not approve that message.


So start your dream today. It's time to crawl out of that sunken sofa.



Here is a list of parks that want your attention.

St. Francois State Park

This beautiful 2,735-acre state park located on Hwy 67 north of Bonne Terre presents many opportunities to walk and hike. The 11-mile trail includes a 6.7-mile southern loop and a 4.3-mile northern loop. Mooner’s Hollow Trail is a 2.7-mile loop which begins and ends in the picnic area. Missouri Trail is a relatively short, but no less beautiful, hiking trail.


St. Joe State Park

Missouri’s third largest park consists of a variety of recreational areas spanning 8,238 acres. Red Trail is a 7.5-mile loop beginning and ending at Pimville Road and includes facilities such as toilets, water, picnic tables, barbeque grills, and hitching posts. You can even enjoy 13.8 miles of paved trails used by bicyclists, hikers, and skateboarders. St. Joe State Park is accessible via the Park Hills exit, on Hwy 32 west to Hwy B.


Washington State Park

Petroglyphs, quaint hiking shelters, and incredible Ozark overlooks define the Washington State Park experience. Easy access to the Big River makes the park great for swimming or fishing. The park’s three hiking trails address every type of hike, from easy strolls to power hikes. Buildings constructed by African-American Civilian Conservation Corps stonemasons complement the park and add to its sense of history. Washington State Park is located north of Potosi on State Hwy. 104.

Keep trying. Keep asking. Keep knocking. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.

Do something. Do anything. Drag yourself away from the social media trap. Get out there. Live your life and BECOME special.

Elephant Rocks State Park

This state park remains a favorite of visitors everywhere with its gigantic granite boulders, which many say look like a train of circus elephants. These huge rocks were formed by volcanic magma that rose to the surface without breaking through it. Time and weather have shaped these formations into what we see today. The 132-acre park also features a 1-mile long, wheelchair accessible Braille trail. To reach this gorgeous location, take the junction of Hwy 221 and Hwy 21 and go two miles north on Hwy 21 in Iron County.


Magnolia Hollow Conservation Area

This rugged 1,740-acre area features a 5-mile hiking trail and a 2-mile hiking trail. The trails offer scenic panoramas of the mighty Mississippi River, as well as steep bluffs. To reach this stunning conservation area, take Hwy 61 north from Ste. Genevieve to Hwy. V, then go east on V to White Sand Road.


Engler Park

Although not a state park, Engler Park has many wonderful amenities, especially beautiful walking trails enveloped by a canopy of trees. You can observe many different varieties of native flora and fauna, pause for a break by one of two lakes, or spend some time in the bird blind. Stunning Engler Park is located off of 67 south of Farmington.


No matter where you stand on the American Dream issue, I am happy to report that it is alive and well regardless of what you might call it.


Millstream Gardens

Located about eight miles west of Fredericktown, this 684-acre area is home to Tiemann Shut-ins, a formation of igneous rocks that have been carved by the St. Francis River. The hiking trail of the same name is paved and handicap accessible, and it covers about one mile. Millstream Gardens is located off Hwy 72 between Fredericktown and Ironton.


Hawn State Park

Hawn State Park is one of the loveliest parks in a system already full of gorgeous parks. Clear sand-bottomed streams, wild areas ripe with orchids, and awe-inspiring views combine to make Hawn a Missouri treasure. Geology buffs love Pickle Creek for the number of exposed rock types. Hikers frequent the Whispering Pine Wild Area for its quiet trails with expansive views. Bird watchers flock to the park for its variety of birds. And there are plenty of quiet spaces for people to get away and enjoy the outdoors. You can explore Hawn State Park off Hwy 32 between Ste. Genevieve and Farmington.




Pickle Springs Natural Area

Few may know that Pickle Springs is a national natural landmark due to its unique geologic features and flora found. It is truly a unique treasure with its cool, moist canyons and its unparalleled sandstone formations and bluffs. There is a 2-mile long trail that winds through these beautifully natural monuments. 5 miles east of Farmington. To enjoy this lovely area, take Hwy 32 to Hwy AA to Dorlac Road.



Taum Sauk Mountain State Park

The tallest point in Missouri at 1,772 feet above sea level, this 7,448-acre park also features the state’s highest waterfall, Mina Sauk Falls. Falls run strongest after a new rain, so keep an eye on the weather to experience the full beauty of this park! You can reach Taum Sauk by going south from Ironton on Hwy 21,then five miles on Hwy CC.


It is worthless to believe the world is against you and cheats you out of success.


Hughes Mountain Nature Area

The Devil’s Honeycomb Trail in this park explores a vast glade on a huge, dome-like outcropping of Precambrian rock that caps Hughes Mountain. The pinkish, multi-sided rhyolite columns for which the trail is named formed when ancient lava flows cooled and contracted. Pleasant mountain breezes sweep the rocky expanse, and panoramic vistas stretch away in three directions. Together, these features make Hughes Mountain an ideal place to admire the sunset. To admire the view, take Hwy 21 north from Caledonia, then turn right on Hwy M to the Big River. Just make sure you make it in time for sunset!


Amidon Memorial Conservation Area

Amidon is located on Castor River and offers 1,630 acres of pure beauty. A 1-mile trail winds to the magnificent formations created by the granite shut-ins. Ready to enjoy the scenic trail? Take Hwy 72 east from Fredericktown to Hwy J, then go right on Hwy W to County Road 253.


Sam A. Baker State Park

Located in Patterson in Wayne County, Sam A. Baker offers an unspoiled, breathtaking panorama of the St. Francois Mountains, one of the oldest mountain regions of North America. The stream is crystal clear, and the views are spectacular. But don’t just take my word for it—check it out for yourself! You can reach Sam A. Baker off Hwy. 67 near Piedmont.



By T. Smugala