Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Wandering in the Land of the Dog

Today seemed a good step forward. After the last date, we thought to meet halfway in-between, in the town of Prairie du Chien- from when it was a French colony, and called Land of the Dog.

Prairie du Chien has a very intriguing history. It is Wisconsin's only War of 1812 battlefield (we lost), and was owned by the French, and then controlled by the British for years after it was legally supposed to be returned to the US. America only finally gained control after the War of 1812.

Prairie du Chien also houses an unique site, the Effigy Mounds, just across the Mighty Mississippi in Iowa. After a brief respite, it is there that we headed, up the slope, and through the woods, to ... the chipmunk's house we go.

It is quite a climb up to the mounds. I fact, it took a whole lot of trying, just to get up that hill. At the top we were promised these famous giant earthen mounds, built hundreds of years ago by the First Nation peoples. While this is found in other locations, uniquely here there are extensive mounds in the shape of animals, like Brother Bear and Sister Bird.

However, we soon found that Brother Chipmunk was going to be the most defined animal we saw for the day. From the air, they're huge and easy to spot. Once up
there...well, this is Erin, standing in front of a Bear Mound. See it? (She does, but she has some rather wicked excellent abilities at spotting things. Me, I saw a big pile of leaves.)











Evidently I wasn't far off. At the visitor's center below, we were told that the leaves had largely covered up the mounds. I am more inclined to think there are no mounds, and they just rake piles of leaves together for unsuspecting tourists.

Prairie du Chien is beautifully situated along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi. I had no idea it was so wide this far North. I'd always pictured it as a wee stream at the Wisconsin level.
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There is a bit of interesting white man history in Prairie du Chien as well. Before dinner we explored some parts of the ruins in the area. At what looks to me like a pagoda, but Erin assures me I'm about a continent off on that one, there is the remnant of the fort from the War of 1812, Wisconsin's only 1812 battlefield. We lost; Canada won. I mean England won. Future President Taylor's daughter, Sarah, met future President Davis there. They fell in love, but Taylor insisted they leave the harsh frontier and move to Louisiana. So they did. And both got pneumonia three months later. She died. Taylor and Davis didn't speak for 10 years, since Taylor blamed Davis for her death, though he had been the one who insisted they move to an area
Hail Erin, full of Grace
where she caught pneumonia. A tragic love story. Taylor and Davis patched things up eventually, and Taylor became President, and then died, and then Davis became President. Briefly.

An interesting story to contemplate on a second date. This is what I was ruminating upon, this romance linked with death, as I traveled down the two-lane highway at 65 mph in the dark of night, only to see a doe, a female deer, step out four feet in front of my car.

I quickly swerved out of the way of the deer, fish-tailing and skidding, spinning twice around, ending up facing the opposite direction on the opposite lane curb, slowly reversing into a ditch. Once I realized what was happening, I put the brake on, and tried to start the car, praying. It would not start. More prayer, and I tried again. It started, and I slowly turned around and continued on, flagging a police car a mile down the road, to let him know about the wandering deer, searching for an honest man in the dark of night. Either that, or trying really, really hard to be selected against.

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