This column originally appeared in the Feb. 4, 2016, issue of the Portage County Gazette. Owl update: the regal creatures have continued to appear annually in Wisconsin since the original publication. Photo below by Tim Krause. Photo of owl in field by Christina Streiff.
Being a column about recreation, this is also where we consider important questions of life. The word “recreate” is, after all, literally about reviving and remaking ourselves.
Here we ruminate on issues related to play and work, meaning and meaninglessness, our use of time, and whether a colonoscopy is more fun than hiking the Appalachian Trail.
We have both little questions and big questions. The little ones: Why do the snowy owls keep coming back, and is the movie “A Walk in the Woods” worth seeing? We’ll get to those.
The big one, which only readers can answer for themselves, is this.
Everyone has had a day or two or ten that defy explanation. Everyone has seen activities that also defy explanation.
Whooping crane (Tim Krause photo)
I got to experience both this past Sunday. I went birding — running around Wood, Juneau and Adams counties with a couple of friends and a three-legged St. Bernard dog on a search for who-knows-what and finding plenty of it.
By that I mean that I’m not sure I can convey very well what happened in the six or so hours we were wandering central Wisconsin. Normally that’s reason for me to puzzle something out until I can articulate every last detail, but in this case it didn’t matter what I did, and I had a grand time doing it.
My gracious hosts were Tim Krause, Christina Streiff and Mollie Bigdawg Krause (the aforementioned St. Bernard). They had agreed to let me hang out with them while they went on one of their many trips around the state, often in the form of daylong excursions each Saturday and Sunday when they have no other plans.