August 07, 2019
Morning Walk on Burton Road
Once upon a time in the out of Burton Rd., that wild place where any creature who disregarded fences wandered, there was always peace ready to suck itself into my spirit and declare itself home. Especially those dark, early morning hours when sunrise was only a faint hint of a blue/black sky fading to sprinkled stars losing their morning shine. Solitude reigned down like a torrential storm of silence. It was the only magic time my soul rejoiced without any utterance of verbal expression.
It was an injection of a narcotic you cannot buy, barter, negotiate, or discuss into being. It was either felt in the depths of the soul or lost in the wind because you could not feel it, due to a total lack of awareness. There are faint hints of this tranquil state, here, in this conquered country called Wisconsin. Up North, however, I know there are spaces waiting discovery.
Will I find them? Who knows. I think it might not happen again. I had my time, and it was gloriously embraced, absorbed, and felt with gratitude, and acceptance. Photography introduced me to the use of light, as if I had really only known it before as a means to an end - i.e.; earning a living. "Best Light of Morning" was my baptism image.
When I realized that image I knew an opportunity was at hand. Wrapping my eyes around this mile of road, peace of soul began its journey through my mind, and body, changing me in a way nothing else nor anyone else could. It became a daily ritual.
In the dark of morning no matter the weather I woke, dressed, slung the camera across my shoulder, and out the door with my brown, four-legged, companion. We strode the distance in silent reverence, hoping no other humans might break our solitude. On the first curve up Burton Rd. most mornings we paused, surveyed the surrounding land, and listened, and watched, standing in total stillness, assimilating this quiet as if it was a prayer.
It was so quiet then any noise of consequence seemed like a violation, except for natural sounds. Elk munching grass, birds sounding their territorial alarms, coyotes announcing the sunrise, or owls hooting their displeasure of light breaking the horizon.
Sometimes I wished I could float above the road so as not to violate the sound of crunching gravel, alerting wolves, or elk, or possibly a cougar, of our presence. I have probably walked that walk a few thousand times. It started in 2007 and ended when I relinquished my presence in Arizona, in 2017. That is ten years of almost every single morning in the wild. Not to mention the afternoon and evening walks.
When I moved to Lakeside, the dynamic changed, though not much. It brought about a few new areas, though they were not as primitive as Burton Rd. Even now, I'm sure Burton Rd. has changed and does not have the same wild flavor it had then. The wild I walked cannot even compare to the wild Native Americans knew before the invasion of civilization. Civilization my ass.