Sunday, November 11, 2007


The Creator has a sense of humor. And is not one to let anything go to waste. Left-over bits and pieces from the creation of the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains were swept together to form the Ocooch Mountains in southwestern Wisconsin.
Excess silken shards from our country's great rivers were spliced into a shimmering skein, and embroidered, zigzag, down a tortuous valley, toward the Wisconsin River. Early Native Americans named this little river "He who wanders here and there." Usually a placid stream, occasionally a roaring demon, it has, down through the years, been alternately loved and hated, adored and worshipped, blessed and cursed--and all for sufficient reasons.
Boaters and water lovers find the waterway too small for large craft or for commercial traffic, but exceedingly "canoe-friendly," except when prodded, irked and irritated by prolonged heavy rainfall.
Landlubbers have learned to live with the meandering stream and share its beautiful valley. To travel there, they built Wisconsin State Highway 131--playing hopscotch with the winding river--erecting a bridge to meet its each and every errant whim.
An effort was made to control and domesticate the river just above LaFarge. But we fools and our money were soon parted. The giant recreational lake involving 6,000 acres never materialized. About 18 million U.S. taxpayers' dollars erected only half-a-dam. And half-a-dam is no better or worse than no dam at all. The stream still remains unfettered and un-neutered. The water still flows free...toward the sea.


In the little Ocooch Mountains
With their gushing streams and fountains
There is a place that's
Very near and dear to me.

A whole world of peace and quiet--
Were I a rich man, I'd buy it--
Where the Kickapoo
Flows gently toward the sea.

When pressures of city and town
Weary my soul and grind me down,
I find there's just no
Place where I would rather be

Than in this rugged, peaceful land
With its lush greenery so grand,
Where the Kickapoo
Winds gently toward the sea.

Pack some lunch, grab up your paddle,
Load the canoe, we'll skedaddle,
And go a-drifting
Down the river, you and me.

On this winding and wondrous stream,
We will find time to plan and dream
As the Kickapoo
Wends its way toward the sea.