Thursday, July 03, 2014

Outside, Over There

If we weren't actually outside, we were at least looking outside. Every day in Wisconsin, we found beauty... green, lush, and inviting beauty, all around us. I never tired of seeing the farms, the knee-high corn, the dense groves of tall trees, the main street gardens, and backyard retreats. From our first glimpse down Grandma Nancy's street, passed the park on Main Street, beneath rising columns of deep white clouds, we felt revived by the views, the air heavy with the season of sunshine, and storms, fireflies, and strawberries. Outside, over there, in Wisconsin, it was breathtaking and inviting.

Inspired by author Neil Gaiman, and his telling of the American Gods who met in the Carousel Room, we went to House on the Rock. It is an indescribable spectacle, collection, and creation, so naturally we have been trying to describe it to anyone who will listen! It was every bit inspiring, amusing, absurd, delightful, and memorable. I like it best for the idea of building your dream, and making your passions the focus of your life's work. If I could I would bring all my friends there, so we could all see it, and discuss it, and enjoy all of our points of view on the experience. I read quite a bit before we left, wanting to be better informed, to have some inkling of what we were embarking on, but in retrospect I think only a few details were necessary, and nothing could have fully prepared me for the experience. It's cliche to say, but so true: You gotta see it to believe it! And I do believe it is worth seeing.

These three pictures are outside House on the Rock, looking at the base of the picnic spot that was the initial inspiration for building the house, then up at the the Infinity Room, which extends 218 feet over the valley, and a view from the Infinity Room. Inside was a whole other spectacle, I will have to post about later. All of it was fascinating.

Back at Grandma Nancy's home, we enjoyed her enclosed porch, walking down to the creek, swinging in the backyard. There is no swing in Grandma's backyard, not any more, but thanks to neighbors, Molly and Shane, there is still a swing... and they're happy to share. We watched the geese, found a frog, met Molly and Shane's pullets... such darling little Rhode Island Reds! Geoff made himself busy replacing the old screen door. No more old door getting stuck in the frame!

We went into Madison to see Paul, to picnic, and ride in his boat, and of course, to swoon over beautiful old homes, with deep porches, rambling gardens, and those tree lined streets that lead to wonderful places, parks, lakes, shops, and more. I do fall in love with places that can bring nature, and daily life beautifully, comfortably together. As we approached Paul's home we passed the park, and saw a huge tree, downed from the storm. Maria lamented that the poor tree would be cut and hauled away, when it could make such a fun play structure. And then! Walking through the park, on our way to the co-op {gah! I love this neighborhood!} we saw that the city is taking something into consideration... and the community will have a chance to consider what can be done with the fallen tree. Nature and our daily lives, living together. {Now that I say it, it sounds kind of absurd for the world to be any other way, yet we do live against nature in so many ways, it becomes second nature? How odd.}

Maria had a lot of observations to share, and one that she was especially in love with was that we could walk to Grandma's house, that it wasn't something that took planning, or a big effort, and she was so delighted by this. She's right... it's a special pleasure to walk to Grandma's, to have a bakery in the neighborhood, to be down the street from the post office, the farmer's market, to turn a corner and see familiar faces. Grandma Nancy's home was the hub of all our gatherings and fun. Gabe set up their playset, for volleyball and badminton. Izzy went on a frog quest, and came home victorious! At dusk the fireflies joined us, the mosquitos, too. Oh, well. It can't all be perfect.

Rich and Nick, Woody and Jane

Phil and Gary, Laura and Geoff

One evening we followed Phil and Georgia to their town, where we sat outside a brewery, listened to live music, and picnicked on leftovers from the birthday celebration. Maria, Izzy and Nick ran endless circles in the open field, between sips of brewery root beers, and chips with guacamole. Above, the clouds rose and built dragons, faces, gargoyles. Outside, in Wisconsin, is a lovely place to be.


judy in ky said...

What a picture perfect place! Reminds me of my own childhood in the midwest, walking to my Grandma's house.

Laura Jane said...

oh boy, so nostalgic for that place, and the summers there. The winters though, Brrr!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Almost perfect... mustn't forget the mosquitos!
Just kidding.
I do think it's all kinds of wonderful~

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

I might choose early fall for my favorite time of year.
But I have enjoyed wonderful winter, and spring times, too.
Wisconsin is lovely most anytime of year.