May 24, 2018

No Place Like Home

In my youth I could not wait for the day to leave Wisconsin.  I vividly remember telling people I was blowing this popsicle stand and never coming back. I traveled the world in the army for 7 years one month and 11 days.  The outdoors had a magnetic pull to me.  I am retired these days.  I live within thirty miles of my hometown here in Hicksville Wisconsin and love it. 

I have been in the coliseum in Rome.  I have touched the sky on the tallest mountain in the Alps. My trip to Dachau was sobering. I was a passenger in a German Police cruiser doing 140mph to an injury accident on the autobahn.  I have enjoyed the October Fest in Munich. I have sipped a Caparri in a canal side restaurant in Venice.   A bullfight in Madrid was not my cup of tea. I walked to the top of the Leaning Tower Of Pisa.  I have wandered the streets of Pompeii.  I swam naked in a fountain in Florence Italy. Mexico and islands in that area were underwhelming.  I made a couple pitstops in England and France.  I was not impressed. They don't hold a candle to Wisconsin.

May 21, 2018

Juxtaposition Project

Last night I drove to my daughter's work to pick her up.  Highway 80 is torn up so badly that I need to take back roads to get her. I truly love backroads because one never knows what they might discover.

I was on this narrow rural road in Richland County when three deer bounced across the road in front of me.  This is actually a frequent occurrence in rural Wisconsin.  I typically slow down when deer cross the road and my eyes are focused on the possible stragglers coming after the first ones.  I learned the hard way once years ago.

There were no more deer coming but I noticed a unique feature where the deer had come from.  The west side of the road had a steep hill with some of it being a rock face.  The deer bolted out of what looked like an opening or draw in that rock face.  I decided to slow down again on the way home.

I paused at where the deer busted out on the trip there.  No deer to be seen.  I looked up the draw from the road.  There has to be a big spring up that draw.  I could not see the spring but I could see its path by the greenery. The spring obviously caused the draw from centuries of running down that hill and cutting a crevice in the hill side.  The spring came out at the road and went under the road.  I am enamored with springs.  I have done seasonal series in the past. I bet the spring will be easy to see in the winter and have ice formations.  I can even picture the steam rising from it on a sub zero day. Springs run a constant temperature here in the drifless.  They vary from 40-42 degrees typically year round.

I focused my attention up the draw.  I could not see the spring but I could hear it.  The steep gradient was lush and looked like a rain forest. The spring's path was paved with large broad leafed plants.  The surrounding hills had no such thick carpet.  The greenery up the draw reminded me of the White Mountains of Washington state. It constantly rained out there and the vegetation was thick because of it.   I lived out there for 16 months in the army.

I sat there for a moment and looked it over from the road.  There was an ancient downed tree in the spring's path.  It was partially hidden by the carpeted forest floor caused by the spring.  My imagination got the best of me and I swear the downed tree looked like a prehistoric skeleton laying on its side in a Paleozoic Jungle.  One last glance up the draw and I saw a no trespassing sign at the bottom.  I went home and looked up the owners on a plat map.

I can already see a seasonal juxtaposition series in my mind.  Dusted off my better camera and got out my tripod. All I need now is permission from the land owners to take some pictures through the seasons.  Getting permission will be my Wednesday quest. Wish me luck.  Please don't ask where.....Is my little secret.