My early morning drive to Menomonie was wildly scenic. The sunrise started as a super dark orange and then changed to a shimmering copper color before rising completely. The colors reminded me of much warmer days in Sydney when the forest fire smoke changed the hue of the sunlight all day long. The trees were all covered in a spectacular hoar frost that absolutely glittered with magical delight as I drove past. Everything was so calm, peaceful, and perfectly snow covered. The entire drive felt like something right out of a storybook.
When I got to Menomonie I made my annual pilgrimage to a service road just off a bridge almost in the middle of town. On the frozen lake was the infamous Klunker on ice, an annual fundraiser for the local Lion’s club. The car is pulled onto the ice and then people place their bets on what time and day the car will break through the ice and sink to the bottom of the lake. Why would I drive to see that every year?
One of my all time favorite books is American Gods by Neil Gaiman. In that fantastic work of fiction Neil pulls in many aspects of life in Menomonie, WI as the fictional town of Lakeside. The bridge and the Klunker are two prominent features in a small part of the story. Seeing both in the winter like this are such an odd intersection of reality and fiction. Each year I can’t help but feel a little wonder when I see them, it’s like the feeling that Santa Claus is real again for a brief moment or two. What a gift that wonder is!