Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Why I Want To Be a Badger

Another post about cornfields and barns, cows out standing in their fields, idyllic small town loveliness...? Yes, and more. It's all here: The farms and rivers, the lakes, screened porches, the tree shaded streets, neighborhood stores and bakeries, and country roads that roll out over hills and through scenes so charming they evoke a nostalgia that makes my heart flutter; I sweep my arm across the whole scene and proclaim, "Beauty."

All of this Wisconsin beauty is compelling enough, but it is only a backdrop for the real attraction, the reason I am in love with being here, with the idea of living here and the hope to return again and again: Our Family welcomes us. Does that sound obvious? I think it is something exceptional, a treasure. From my very first visit, as Geoff's soon to be fiance, and with every visit since, I have felt like one of the family. There is no pretense or hesitation in the hospitality. Everything is relaxed, inviting and familiar, like being in my own Mommy's house. In fact, the warmth and kindness I feel here, in this house, feels more like a home to me than almost any place I can visit... it's has been a constant in my life for 20 years.

I am sentimental about this little brown house, two blocks from town, with trees out front and a creek in the back. I am delighted with returning to Main Street, the shops, and the pretty houses on North Street and Elm Street and out by the Lake. I love corn on the cob and pasty, and eating home baked apple crisp out on the porch, while a summer storm thunders and pours. I feel comforted and connected seeing family pictures, hearing family stories, knowing these people, their voices, their laughs. And while I can go on and on describing tangible delights, pretty scenes and romantic ideals, I know that at the center of my affection for Wisconsin is family. Grandma Nancy and her dear Bill, and all of their children, and the grandchildren and now great-grandchildren too, they are at the heart of this being a truly wonderful place to be.

Yesterday we met Gabe and Betsy at the zoo in Madison. Their daughter Jordan and Maria are both 2, nearly 3, and they are peas in a pod. Both cute and curious and ambitously trying to keep up with the big kids. Jordan's brother, Griffin, is blue eyed and handsome, charming, bright, gentle, busy... he's on his way to kindergarten, and I think he is going to be a happy assest to his class.

I know, I know. Where are the pictures? The zoo was awesome and the children are ready friends and we had are having a lot of fun, but the pictures are still stuck in my camera. So, for now, I am going to get back to enjoying this stay, and I will share more later.


Jennifer said...

Sounds heavenly! I grew up in Chicago and spent most of my childhood summers in Wisconsin -- it is a magical place and how wonderful for you to have such incredible family there!

Anna Banana said...

Welcome back! Looking forward to talking soon. Remember you can call Mon. and Weds. any time. Can't wait to hear more and see photos!!!

Tarie said...

Natalie, Natalie... I know/completely understand how you feel, it's really all about family! By the way, I love thunderstorms too. :)

Tarie said...

Argh. It seems my comment hasn't been posted. At least, it's not showing up when I open up the page here. Anyway, it was: "Natalie, Natalie... I know/completely understand how you feel, it's really all about family! By the way, I love thunderstorms too. :)"