Today we traveled just a few miles from our small lake-country community, out to the surrounding countryside—the rivers, farms, and woodlands which say “Wisconsin”. Pictured above is the Rock River, once a part of the Sauk Indians’ Wisconsin and Illinois territory embedded in history by the leadership of Black Hawk. From the photo you can see that we’ve had plenty of rain; that white thing apparently floating beyond the high grass slightly above center is a picnic bench.
Joe (flanked by Dylan) cast a line in this river park, which is simply a spur off a county road—one of countless natural retreats for travelers in our state.
When Dylan wasn’t fishing, he strolled with me along the water’s edge. Suddenly, he decided to go wading—something he has never done before. I was amazed, because it’s always a struggle to get Dylan into the bathtub. But then, haven’t little boys always preferred wading in rivers to getting lathered up in a tub? So it’s no wonder that Dylan went in up to his belly, which isn’t all that high off the ground. Perhaps the presence of hundreds of teensy tadpoles darting in the water provided a lure to adventure, even when it meant my corgi had to get wet.
From the river site Joe, Dylan, and I meandered along country lanes west of the Kettle Moraine State Forest where we lived for 21 years—the longest I have ever lived in any one place for my entire life. We visited a friend on a farm near Fort Atkinson (more historic Sauk country), and Dylan ran free of his leash—something he hasn’t done since we moved nearly 5 years ago, from our wild northern acres. On that farm Joe and I stroked horses noses and fondled a small herd of mini-Nubian goats—all of whom Dylan approached with friendly enthusiasm. (Dylan LOVES all living creatures, barring dogs. He wants to KILL dogs!)
Laden with rhubarb and some of the best fresh spinach we’ve ever had, we returned home via a favorite country ice-cream shop—“Pickets” possibly named after a 1990s TV series, PICKET FENCES, hypothetically set in Rome, Wisconsin.*
The actual village of Rome (on the Bark River) seems like something Time forgot, except for the occasional local person walking around with a cell phone.
As you readers can probably gather, our octogenarian decade is at this moment an extremely pleasant time. We live surrounded by pleasant places, and Home is the most pleasant of all. Currently we have another family living with us—not inside our 4 room condo, but just outside and above our living room/patio door.
The nest contains 5 baby barn swallows. A week ago we saw nothing but mouths lining the edge of the nest; and when they were open the mouths looked like mini-Muppets. Now the babies are leaning out of the nest, and they are hilarious. The middle bird is huge compared to his or her “sibs”, and also the most aggressive. Some have learned to back over the edge to do their bird jobs; consequently we’ll soon have a piece of work to clean-up.
What we are seeing is Entitlement in action; I call it “OCCUPY NASHOTAH”. For several days the parents have been zooming and fluttering around between feedings. It seems that Mom and Dad realize it’s time for their nestlings to get out on their own and DO THEIR OWN WORK! I hope to be out there when it happens! :)
Pleasant places, pleasant times. Every single day, I thank our Lord for them. I’ve lived long enough (and through enough!) to know that “pleasant” can change in an instant—to “crisis”, “emergency”, and even “tragedy”.
Because I know and trust the Lord Jesus Christ who died to save us from our sin and rose to give us Eternal Life, and because I know that I’m in His care forever, I have no fear of the future. As I rest in Him, He will provide the Grace to bear whatever lies ahead! Meanwhile I’m thankful beyond expression, for God’s gift of Life—and for the pleasant places and pleasant times He’s given Joe and me today!
©Margaret L. Been, July 2014
*Never having watched PICKET FENCES, I’m not sure of the naming of the country store—or whether or not it was featured in the series. Perhaps the store was always “Pickets”, and the show was named after it. Who knows? Further GOOGLE research may shed light. :)