October 17, 2004

An October drive.

I took a drive into the country today, out to Highway J, which the Law School faculty survey indicated was a good place to see the fall foliage. After the strong winds yesterday, I wasn't expecting the height of color. The music on the radio seemed to go with the winding, rollercoaster road; and I said to myself, whatever music this is, this is the kind of music I love. Later, I heard that it was the Lawrence Chamber Players--live at the Elvehjem Museum in Madison--playing Prokofiev: Quintet, op. 39. Then, as the Players took a break before playing Puccini: Crisantemi, there was an interview about a show at the Elvehjem: Xu Bing's paintings "The Glassy Surface of a Lake." An expert was talking about the importance of black ink in Chinese paintings and tolerating the interviewer's incapacity to stop calling paintings drawings. I pulled the car over and took this picture from my car window.

At first, I had my digital camera on the wrong setting, and I accidentally took two tiny movies of that view, complete with a snippet of the radio voice talking about black ink. A little further on, horses:

Then, fall foliage along with the beginnings of a new crop of Christmas trees:

I passed a yard full of metal sculpture that had this Tin Man mailbox:

Soon enough I found myself in the Wisconsin town with my favorite town name: Black Earth. Often people drive out to Black Earth just to go to the Shoe Box, which has a sign that says it's the largest shoe store in the Midwest. Inside, in addition to a lot of shoes, there are TVs showing the Packer game, fish tanks, and birdcages with noisy birds. I look at some shoes but I don't buy anything. I'm intrigued by all the stickers on the door and the shadows they cast on the doormat, so I take a lot of pictures.

I finally tear myself away from the spectacle that is the Shoe Box vestibule, and I take some pictures outside, where there is not only this lovely cow but there is also that brat sale going on over there. (It is a common occurrence in Wisconsin for retailers to enhance the shopping experience by setting up some grills outside and selling brats nice and cheap.)

When I get home and get out of my car, I look around and see new beauty in the trees in my own yard:

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