Memories of Iowa
Southwestern Iowa was my home for two years while I went to nursing school. I loved the rural countryside, the pace of life that respected and worked with the seasons. Many of my happiest days were spent exploring the countryside and finding hidden treasures of beauty. Since Iowa has been much on my mind the past few days, with all the news of flooding across the state, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite spots through some of the photographs I took while there. Recently, I discovered dumpr.net and their "lomo" tool to saturate photos, so I have used it on all of these. Now the photos match my memory more accurately as Iowa in the spring has to be one of the worlds greenest and lushest places.
Winterset City Park is lovely and catches one by surprise. Who would expect to see exquisite stonework bridges and medieval type towers in a small community in the middle of Iowa? This became one of my favorite places in Iowa. A glimpse of the stone bridge and the park were seen in the movie, Bridges of Madison County.
Clark Tower was built in the 1920's as a tribute to some of Wintersets early citizens. To get there, one follows a winding narrow dirt road through the woods. It is lovely and peaceful.
The park also contains the Cutler-Donahoe covered bridge, moved here to preserve it for posterity. It is lovely in spring with the magnolia blooming and woods leafing out.
Not far from Winterset, is Pammel State Park. Here there is an old mill dam and a wonderful "bridge" carved through the stone outcropping. I love how the greenery dangles down across the opening.
The green verdure of this area is stunning. The woods are filled with oak, sycamore, hickory, redbud, hazelnut and black walnut trees. Underneath there are wild roses, elderberry and a host of smaller trees and shrubs too numerous to name.
North of Interstate 80, along a rural road is a woodland park known as Sutcliffe Woodland. Here, a couple who cherished Iowa's woodlands, worked to preserve and collect a broad selection of the area's plantlife. In a glade with picnic tables, they planted peonies and ressurection lilies. It is a spot straight out of fairyland. When my daughter and I "lucked" upon it, the ressurection lilies were in full bloom. It was magical!
Spring in Iowa is a thing of beauty. It is the spring that I always dreamed about. I loved to drive the back roads, the windows down, smelling the rich damp earth, the smell of green grass, of blossoming trees, listening all the while to a symphony of birdsong. This lovely pastoral scene is one of my favorite and you may recognize it as the inspiration for one of my paintings.
I have so many beautiful memories of Iowa. In the future I'll share more of them with you, such as a trip to the Bridges of Madison County, a trip through the countryside, to the lakeside and a view of autumn in Iowa. In truth, if my family were there, I would move back in a heartbeat and never look back.