Sunday, April 02, 2006

sounds and fishbones

No, no, I did not lose my life in the Kettle Moraine yesterday, Chuck (note comment to previous post). Though almost.

A quiet day in the woods of eastern Wisconsin, that was the goal. My traveling pal, Ed and I drive to the Kettle Moraine. We search for the entrance to the State Park. I see a sign in the parking lot: EVENT IN PROGRESS. Event? Like a wedding or a bird watching group maybe? Should we tip toe?

I look at the cars in the lot. Something is not right.

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Trunks open? Cages inside? I look toward the field. A crack. Something falls from the sky.

The man is pointing a rifle at the sky, no at me! I am about to be the next Cheney-like victim. I will be giving interviews to the press that it really does not matter that I have 100 pieces of shrapnel in my body!

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We leave.

In another leg of the park, we finally leave the car and start our twelve-miler. Not so quiet here either. Crack. Shot heard from the now thankfully distant hunting fields. And the frogs! These guys are mating with a scream! Two ponds, a cacophony of sound.

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pond 1

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pond 2

The hike reveals no green sprouts yet. No matter. A deer stares at us, then turns her white-tailed rear-end in our faces and flies off. The Moraine dips and crests, giving the feeling of a swaying horizon line that can’t straighten itself out.

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At times the birches stand tall and silver and you imagine how absolutely splendid they’ll be when dressed. Revealing so much limb is never optimal.

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At other times, trees appear engaged in some macabre twisty dance, some forest tango of gnarled trunks and entwined arms.

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Most interesting of all is the fungus. Sometimes it seems like a bunch of spaceships had crashed into the bark: half of a ship in, the other half protruding still.

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But the splendid award goes to the family of cranes. Oh sure, I scared them off with my camera. But not until I got them to move slowly, languidly, so that I could take this:

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Nothing could top that. Okay, only one thing could top that: a great meal. A great meal can top pretty much most things. We didn’t have to drive far for it. In Delafield, a colorful shack stands by the lake. Fishbones.

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It is nearly impossible to choose a main course. Four plates screamed pick me! Pick me! (jumbo prawns in a hearty vegetable Creole sauce served over sweet potato dirty rice and topped with an asparagus and lump crab relish, OR hand-made ravioli stuffed with mascarpone cheese, shrimp, crawfish tail meat, spinach, and shiitake mushrooms served with a chipotle beurre blanc and spinach chiffonade, OR delicate Norwegian salmon, brie cheese, spinach and crawfish tail meat wrapped in phyllo dough, baked and served with a side of red pepper, asparagus, corn and lump crab relish and finished with a chardonnay cream sauce, OR jumbo prawns, calamari, fresh fish, green lip mussels, butternut squash and red-skinned potatoes in a rich shrimp broth)

Too much pressure. More sweat-generating than the twelve-mile hike. I let others do the selecting for me. Outstanding stuff! Oh, there was an appetizer as well, but it all swims now. But let me mention the crawfish bisque. If you go there, you have to order the crawfish bisque.

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killer shrimp creole

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crawfish bisque