Monday, January 21, 2008

Back in the North Country

I am back in the north country. I am here for a couple of weeks of work. For some reason, no one at the office seems to want to go to Wisconsin in January. I thought it sounded fun. Flew into the Twin Cities yesterday and drove in from there.

The road from St. Paul is outstanding. This is the bluff country of the Mississippi. The bluffs are big, the trees are bare, and the river is frozen. I stop so often to take in the sights the trip stretches late into the afternoon. I arrive at Lake Pepin at twilight and decide to photograph the evening light across the frozen lake.

Lake Pepin is a natural lake on the mighty Miss. Charging out of the Wisconsin sand hill country (like Aldo Leopold wrote about in A Sand County Almanac)the Chippewa River flows into the Mississippi with such speed and load of sand that it has caused Lake Pepin to form. See the Chippewa brings in the sand faster than the Mississippi could take it away. The lake fills most of the steep sided valley and runs for dozens of miles back upstream from where the Chippewa pours in. The road winds along the edge of the bluff, is quite curvy and a fun/scenic drive.

The soft pastels of evening fill the sky and the lake is frozen solid. I line up an image that looks down the lake. The frozen lake fills the valley. The distant bluffs hem the lake in.

The cold crisp air heightens the senses. It is a lot colder than it was in Texas this morning.

I make the image. I look at the lake. I smile. I am back in the north country.

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