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.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Groundhog Day!

I cannot include my grainy, out of focus groundhog photo, so you'll have to take my word for it: I really, really did see a furry, brown, mammal and it was either a groundhog or a woodchuck or are they one and the same?

I love Wisconsin! Our flight was scary bumpy quick and Minneapolis was great (a little too great... I hate to think I would live there, since that was an experiment that we attempted once before.) We had a wonderful dinner at a friend's house, and then we made the sort of long and always scenic drive to Madison. Oh joy. It is so delightful to be surrounded by green and quiet and lovely, and family, beauty and quaintness and tamale pie...

We have done very little in terms of sight-seeing, which I think is wonderful. We have been walking in town and down to the rain swollen creek, which is a short walk, since the water reaches the shed. We missed the parched summer and we missed the flooding rains, and we came in time for mosquitos. Too bad about mosquitos, but everything else is grand, like watching Maria and her cousin Jordan play restaurant together, and seeing another of Grandma Nancy's amazing Impressionist quilts in progress. Everyone is well and treating us to homecooked meals and family news, history too. Do you know what a hair wreath is? I am going to invite Phil or Carol to submit a guest post on Chickenblog about John Brown and the Secret 6!

A new storm is blowing in. The sky is dark and I hear thunder. I know everyone here has had their fill of rainstorms, but for us a storm would be a treat. Thunder and lightning are so rare where we come from... (except for our furry animals, I hardly remember Garage Mahal... we should just buy the house down the street and send for our stuff.)

How frazzled was I when we left? Well, I hope you haven't tried calling us, here or at home. I packed our house phone!! And I left my cell phone charger in California. Great, big, huge DUH. Vacation came just in time, but I am afraid it will end too soon. We hope we can picnic today, after the storm, and we want to go to Madison, maybe Mineral Point. We may see Sophie play in the band at Friday's high school football game.

ooooh... more thunder! closer! I love the way it makes me shudder.

Time to go out to the porch and watch the rain. Then we are off to the Piggly Wiggly, maybe to The Quilt Shop...