By Joann M. Ringelstetter
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About a week ago, Ruth and I looked at the extended weather forecast and decided we would take advantage of the cooler than normal weather pattern by hitting the backroads. On Sunday, June 25, we left fairly early in the morning and headed to southwest Wisconsin. We photographed a bit in Dane and Iowa Counties and then crossed into Lafayette County.
The day started out clear and sunny, so we “put in our order” for a blue sky with puffy white clouds. By 8:45 a.m., clouds were beginning to form in the sky. Around 9:15 a.m., we turned onto a quiet country road and, as we rounded a bend, we saw a unique flag at the end of a driveway. I drove quite a ways past the flag before I stopped the car so that we wouldn’t be in danger if another car came around the bend. And then I walked back to capture a photo of the flag.
I snapped one photo, which was all that was needed, and suddenly something went “Woosh! Flap-Flap-Flap!” fairly close to my head. I looked up and saw the back of a bald eagle, flying low to the ground, and carrying a small animal in its talons. I had my camera settings way too slow to capture this type of movement, and I knew that I would miss the amazing beauty of this huge bird if I tried to change the camera settings, so I just watched in awe. Surprisingly, the eagle stayed low to the ground as it passed the car and continued down the long road. Luckily, Ruth didn’t have her eyes on the map, so she enjoyed this beautiful bird of prey, too.
Our next stop was actually the reason we had come down this country road. Ruth knew there were cow sculptures in a farm pasture. They were next to a long straight stretch of road, but there was no shoulder as is often the case on country roads, so I stopped the car on the road, got my equipment out, and started photographing these whimsical sculptures.
I probably spent about 20 minutes walking up and down the road and into the ditch and up to the fence to capture different angles. As I did this, I could hear the bugs and see the beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds (just as we had ordered). At times like this, an absolute peace washes over me and I am reminded why I love shunpiking on the backroads so much. I returned to the car and commented to Ruth that this was heaven and it was why I named this business Shunpiking to Heaven.
We spent the day enjoying the beauty of the rolling countryside in Lafayette and Grant Counties, finally returning home at 10:00 p.m. It had been a long but satisfying day and I fell into bed thanking God for all the blessings of the day.
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