Rolling Fields

Luke Wagner

The Northwoods are punctuated to the south by fields. Wisconsin can be split in two on a satellite map with the dark, forested north being held up by the fertile farmland of the southern half.

While on a ride through these fields this weekend I found something I didn't expect. I found awe. I found wonder. I found beauty. Most of all I found a sense of place I hadn't tapped into previously. There is a permeating feeling of history present in these fields. As I passed through the tiny town of Freistadt I had a trip which took less than a minute but lasted over a century. I was transported back to 1839 and the founding of Freistadt by some of the earliest settlers in the area, before Wisconsin was welcomed into statehood nine years later. The small farms and somehow smaller community was so tinged with quaint nostalgia that I couldn't help but to be moved. People making a living from the land and forming tight knit communities that have stood the test of nearly 200 years all while supporting eachother through the good times and tough. In this modern world it is so easy to isolate or search for community online. This trip through Freistadt reminded me that community is not just your tribe but local as well.

Barely a minute after rolling into town I crested the hill leading east out of town and glanced to my right. There through the morning haze I was able to make out on the horizon the city of Milwaukee, the Good Land, and my trip swiftly ended. Despite its short duration, I left with a feeling of place not unlike that experienced in the Northwoods and I came away better for it. And for that I am thankful.