What a beautiful state.
I'm going to Alaska in three weeks and I'm really looking forward to the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness and the mountains and ocean of the west coast, but there's nothing quite like Nita Ho Valley in Iowa.
Lining the Te Te Morts creek at the point of its branching off the Mississippi river, Nita Ho Valley carries gently in its palms a glorious variety of flora and fauna, and it is in this place that I spent the week after graduation. It was my fourth trip to this lovely place and I've begun to know it in the way that I know my hometown, and I hope this familiarity only continues to grow. The cabin is situated among many cabins used for many purposes, but the valley is quiet despite folks' milling about and working on construction projects here and there.
The first few days were spent sitting. After four (or in Luke's case, ten) years of school, it was good to do nothing and to enjoy nature by merely watching it from the deck. We saw four different kinds of woodpeckers on the first day, and baltimore oreoles, cardinals, goldfinches, house sparrows, chickadees, and hawks. Throughout the week we also saw three deer, one of which looked intently at us for a few moments before the sound of the train frightened her away. In the process of molting out of his winter coat into his bright red summer coat, a small fox trotted across the road in front of us one day and proceeded to walk across a small bridge as if he were a little human boy playing outside without a care in the world.
We became rather addicted to the HBO show entitled "Deadwood" and watched almost two whole seasons while we were there while completely neglecting the movies we'd borrowed from the library for the week. We cooked and ate and played and sang. We slept. A LOT.
In all, the week was lovely, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.