Thursday, July 17, 2014


Our rustic cabin for the week sits nestled in among the pine groves surrounding Catfish Lake. The main house was built strong in the early 1920's.
It sits on a flat patch of ground just before the land falls to the shore and the dock pointing out into the lake like a finger testing the water.
A smaller sleeping cabin for guests and generations past, present and future, a garage and a carport complete the compound.
The ground is layered with the needles shed from the statuesque pines turned that cinnamon color that seasons the North Woods of Wisconsin.
Babbles of moss add an emerald sheen to the velvet carpet of lawn fluttering down the embankment and lapping at the shore.
The shore, in return, echoes the undulation of the land and meets in a kiss of water and mass.
It's our second visit to the cabin on Wooded Lane. Here time loops around as the next door neighbor with his captain's hat slowly motors out into the lake with his wooden Chris Craft
only to have time turned back around by the buzz of the neighbor two doors down landing his seaplane on his way back from work.
Here where eagles fly in groups gliding on currents of time held in check, where the air is always crisply scented with pine, where deer play in your yard seeming fearless and forgetful of the coming hunt, here is where I can touch my solitude and regain my direction.
July still requires stoking the fireplace. Temperatures struggle to reach the seventies during the day and fall well below fifty at night.
The howl of the wind whips through the night yet dawn is eerily quiet. Not even the birds seem to wake remaining huddled in their aeries miles above our resting heads.

As dusk rolled in Rick sat in the amber light Buddy happily nuzzled in his lap.

Every Monday between Memorial Day and Labor Day the Community Park in St. Germain is the site of a flea market. This is not your parking lot variety flea market with stalls marked out by the size of a parking space. The St. Germain market winds through a pine forest of needle packed trails under the branches of a forest canopy. From nine in the morning until three in the afternoon the meandering paths are packed with bargain seekers rummaging through vintage, antique, and craft goods from vendors who travel the uplands market circuit.
One vendor specialized in 1950's pinball art salvaging from the sides of an old pinball machines like the Strike Zone or Derby Dash.
These panels represent a moment in the continuum of graphics between art deco and graffiti. Thank god someone had the forethought and the discerning eye to salvage these pieces that can now be classified as art.
Light filtering through the canopy of the coniferous trees and spilling onto the pieces of history for sale puts them in a context far more enchanting than sitting on a plastic folding table in someone's driveway back home.
Ceramic vases, clutch purses and marble candlesticks spread out on a vintage tablecloth are made all the more appealing given this North Woods setting.
Pieces so iconic of the territory hang from trees.
Taxidermy deer heads mounted and ready to hang were available for those unwilling to make the kill or for those unable to bag their own but looking for bragging rights with made-up stories about the ten-point buck shot at a hundred yards in a blinding snow storm with a single bullet.
A faux trunk probably purchased at a gift store takes on a history far greater than its actual lifespan when placed in a setting so complimentary to its fictitious history.
We had taken E. L. Doctorow's Loon Lake along with us as one of the books we wanted to keep us company while we sat in front of the fire on those cool northern nights. We didn't expect to see such a literal doppelganger of our reading material and Doctorow's imagination pop up on a table in the woods.
Even the crafts displayed had a North Woods aura about them. A very sweet older man explained how he collected objects like doorknobs and yardsticks and turned them into hall hooks. We were impressed with an old crocket set he had re-envisioned turning it into a whimsical side table.
Another vendor sold only birch bark baskets supposedly woven by local Indians.
A group of women made mittens from recycled woolen sweaters that had either lost their style or worn out in places that couldn't be repaired. We almost walked out with this pair. We have a hard time resisting anything that comes in grey and orange.
What we couldn't resist was this metal watering can sitting amongst a bedpan, spittoon and two boxes of 7.62 mm cartridges. It quenched our thirst for a purchase and it will help quench our backyard flowers for a long time to come.
Food was also in plentiful supply and regional rather than generic. The German Sausage Hut provided brotwurst, wine kruat and Cheese-Kransky. Set among the towering branches of Community Park it was like a slice of Bavaria cut off and plopped in the Wisconsin woods.
Entertainment wasn't on the agenda as far as I could tell but this little guy was in full swing as he walked the paths along with his dad. How cool is this.
The market is no match for Brimfield or Madison-Bouckville in size. It doesn't span acres or boost a field of hundreds of vendors but the setting is so magical the spirit of the event far surpasses any trip we've made to the better-known markets of the continental United States. There's a European feel to the event. Similar to the weekly markets that travel from town to town throughout Europe where you can buy fresh produce and meat for that evenings dinner, a new outfit for the weekend or a piece of local history.

Parc de Jeurre, Morigny-Champaigny, France, 1999
Lynn Geesaman, photographer
Represented by Yancey Richardson Gallery

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