Oops!!! Somehow I missed hitting the “Publish” button after finishing my blog last night. At least I wrote it on the day I was supposed to 😉
Dominic’s last high school soccer game of the season was today. While Becky went to Gavin’s game here in town I hopped in the car and drove an hour and a half down the Mississippi River to Prairie du Chien. I opted to head across the border into Minnesota and then into Iowa before crossing the Mississippi a second time to go back into Wisconsin.
Of all the drives to and from La Crosse this one has to be amongst my all time favorites. The entire drive has scenic views of the bluffs, the river, and all the wildlife in between. There is little traffic and very few towns which adds even more to the feeling of serenity on the drive. I saw so many migrating birds, eagles, pelicans, and other signs wildlife. Focusing on the road was difficult at times as my eyes, imagination, and wonder pulled me towards the spectacular views of the Mississippi River Valley.
On my way home I remembered something I had noticed as I’d crossed into Iowa. Just a few minutes across the border there was a sign for the “Fish Farm Mounds” and there was a little parking area. After sitting in the car for a while it seemed like a great spot to get out and stretch my legs while taking in more of the view. I am so thankful I chose that exact spot.
When I pulled into the parking area my car was the only one there. I saw a hint of a trail that ended in some barely noticeable steps leading to seemingly nowhere. In a flash I found myself going up the old grass and moss covered carved rock steps. After a dozen or so steps the trail turned sharply to the left. Another dozen or so steps and it turned sharply to the right. At the end of the stairs I stood frozen.
When I have read fictional stories telling of a fairy tale like forest I couldn’t picture anything more idyllic than the glen I walked into. The outside world seemed to fade away when I walked a few steps into this area. It was a large open grassy area surrounded on all sides by thick brush and trees. Several trees provided what would appear to be the perfect amount of shade on a sunny day. I swear I walked out of reality and into a fantasy world. It even felt different in the core of my bones. I wish I sufficient words to share exactly what I mean, but all I can say is that it was so vividly serene.
What made the area even more special were the dozens of burial mounds from indigenous Americans… some from over 2,000 years ago! The most recent amongst them are believed to be from the year 650. No, I didn’t forget the first digit – the newest ones are almost 1,400 years old. Seeing the mounds throughout the area added an additional depth to the magic of this location. It was so easy to see why they would have chosen such a place for the final resting spot of family. I must admit that it was quickly added to the list of places I would like to see my ashes spread after the time of my earthly body has come to an end.
I took a couple of pictures to remind me of this place, though they will never do it justice. The true magic was in the place itself, in the land, and in the history surrounding it. Whenever I read a story of someone running into the woods this is the spot which will be in my mind. I’ve already seared the memory into my heart, or, more fittingly, this place has left its mark upon me.
I am so thankful for taking the time to explore the outdoors. Never in a million years would I have imagined finding a little piece of heaven on Earth like this.