A Miracle on Hwy 131
Not just one, but two Hurricane Sandy’s hit Gays Mills, Wisconsin. The water did not arrive on the winds of a hurricane but torrential rain events. Two one-hundred-year floods struck Gays Mills in just two years.
It is a small village and does not share the people density of the Jersey Shore, but the homes and businesses, the tears and sweat, and the recovery process was every bit as daunting. But finally, all the FEMA meetings and flood mediation plans and moving and raising of homes and businesses and well – all is finally complete. And finally, a silver lining is brought on the wings of eagles.
A building was built on higher ground. The name was decided by the developers and then agreed upon by everyone else. It was to be known as “The Mercantile Center”. Finally three businesses uprooted by the flood took up occupancy, but the building remained over half empty, and occupants of the space began referring to it, as “the ghost mall”.
Then came our good friend ART
The “Art” that arrived was not the name of a person, but “Art” as in “creative expression”. The artists of the area formed the Gays Mills Art Collective and took up residence in a large corner of the Mercantile Center.
It was like a call to the “Ghost Busters”. The gallery space was opened, lights appeared in the windows at night, face book groups and pages became alive with comment, and the dreary ghost-like aspect of the building was exorcised. But then, came the unanticipated, unplanned, natural miracle.
I walked into the Crawford County Independent newspaper office and Andreas Transo was looking out the window over the skeletal, leaf stripped trees on the far hill side. “Look.”, he said. “A new eagles nest.”
And, yes. A pair of eagles were building a new nest in clear view of the Mercantile Center and only some 400 yards away. One white headed bird was in the nest and the other perched on a higher branch to the upper right – silent and stoic.
Where can you get a hair cut and observe such a site while getting clipped? Why, at Robert E’s barber shop. Where can you pick up your newspaper and watch an eagle fly to a nest to feed its young? Why, the Crawford County Independent office.
The building of the eagles’ nest and the arrival of the Arts Collective commenced along the same time-line, as if to promise to grow together in face of floods and storms far into the future.
Coincidence. Two seemingly disconnected events or manifestations that occur simultaneously. Eagles and Art? Nests and Haircuts? News and Eaglets?
All in the realm of the mystic of the Kickapoo Valley.