Two weeks ago I took a trip to visit “Rachel.” A cancerous tumor had been discovered in my friend’s brain stem, and while the removal was a success, she would need to live in a rehab facility for the longest, toughest phase of physical therapy.
I avoided the interstate on purpose.
When one breaks from the suburban south of Wisconsin, one enters a clear, open space, where farms still live and die by the land. Because I had no deadline, I paused often on the road.
I loved how every road felt worth a journey, from the well-tended to the unpainted. The farmlands themselves felt perfect for a hike (trespassing aside).
And the run-down places begged for a looksee.
I crossed over a heavily-treed river and noticed a small waterfall—manmade, I figured. As was the mill.
A skeleton of a mill.
And it was beautiful.
I watched the water fall and cast ripples, carry sticks and leaves under the bridge, to the other side, and beyond. As a mother of young children, I am often not allowed to admire natural wonders. The blink of an eye can mean a missed mill. It can also mean a missed child.
So when these moments away from family come, and I am allotted hours to lose myself in the partly-tamed wilds, that is precisely what I will do. As a mother, it allows me a moment to breathe and enjoy the quiet. As a writer, I am reacquainted with the quintessential rural setting. Lose yourself in the natural world around you, and discover a wealth of sensual touches to make your created worlds real.
For more images of Wisconsin, please see “Where and Why I Write” as well as “The Need for Place.”