Natural Scenery

LAUNDRIE COLUMN: In our own backyard | Opinion

Fifty years ago, Catherine Marshall’s book “Christy” had a profound effect on me.

In my idealized view, I wanted to be just like Christy and help children who were dealing with poverty and other serious issues. When I ended up getting my first teaching job in the Dells, I quickly found out that I didn’t need to go to the Appalachian Mountains to help students dealing with life challenges. I could contribute and make a difference here in my own backyard.

My husband and I like to travel. One fall we headed to the Smoky Mountains, near Christy’s Cutter Gap, to take in the gorgeous color. We had a great time hiking up Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and watching a mother bear and her cubs, but truly, the colors were not nearly as pretty as the trees around the Baraboo Hills or North Freedom. For fall color, it’s hard to top the scenery in my own backyard.

In my lifetime, I’ve had many other idealized views, many of which involved distant travel. I longed to vacation along Maine’s coast and enjoy fresh lobster. I pictured dining with a view of the rocky shore and rolling waves. After traveling by car for days, I did get to a lobster shack on the ocean, but after seeing my lobster tossed into boiling water and ten minutes later, handed to me, and realizing I needed to scoop out the inside intestines, my romantic bubble burst. Now when I want to splurge, I can buy lobster at the grocery store and pack a picnic lunch to share on a Wisconsin shoreline, less than 50 miles from my own backyard.

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