my wife and i are traveling and where we are staying now has no internet access. to my surprise, i'm not missing it much, but i know that there are many relatives and friends who communicate with me by email, and i am out of touch with them. other than that and being unable to keep up with the blogs i follow or to post to my own, the internet has become another source of entertainment and a way to find information that i can do without. when i return home, i will post whatever i have the opportunity to write as i travel, so my posts will be later than the time i've composed them.
yesterday we drove through the wisconsin countryside using secondary roads as we traveled to spring green. there are gently rolling hills with a few fairly high elevations. what struck me was the care the many dairy farmers seem to lavish on the land. we saw few properties that were unkempt, a marked contrast to what we are accustomed to in our part of the country. farm houses were well cared for with lovely trees. barns were large and beautiful. the land itself was the picture of what i imagine farmland should look like if we were the agrarian society that jefferson envisioned.
the purpose of our drive was to take us to the site of frank lloyd wright's home, taliesin, near spring green. as we drove through the beautiful farms, i thought about how this landscape must have influenced wright. i could see how these carefully plowed fields, the dark earth, the ambers and tans of the dried grass and remnants of crops, all found a place in his designs. one understood his idea that a building should develop as a part of the land rather than an imposition on it. in his structures one senses the farmer's love of the land and the concept that the land is something more than a way to earn a livelihood.
the first wright creation we saw was the building that now serves as the visitor center for the taliesin complex. we saw it first from a park on the wisconsin river where we faced the back of the building looking out over the river. as we crossed the river and turned into the visitor center parking lot, we saw the front of the building looking toward the hilly farmland. from this side, the building clings to the side of the hill, and its tan stone is a part of the hill. the red roof of what is now the office area of the visitor center makes reference to the red barns, while the shape of the roof reminds one of the tops of the many silos one sees. the spire of the roof is wright's interpretation of the weather vanes or perhaps the windmills that are sometimes seen on farm structures.
we drove on along the banks of the river and through the wetlands that extend out beside the river until the road ended at a major highway where the former visitor center, now a motel, that was designed by one of wright's students occupies a plot of land at the intersection. turning around, we drove back along the river and followed two other roads that took us by the structures that comprise taliesin itself. since winter is in its last throes here, with damp and rather cool weather, the complex is not yet open to the public, so we had to content ourselves with looking at the outside from a distance. the buildings were quite beautiful, disappearing into the land, barely visible through the leafless trees. one imagines that wright intended this to be the effect of the structures and their relationship to the land from which they grow.
while i longed to see the buildings up close and to wander through their interiors, it was enough for me to see them as i saw them yesterday, as a private sanctuary for a great mind and for those who cared for him and came to learn their craft under his guidance. after all, this was wright's intention. perhaps i will return again when the buildings and grounds are open to the public and experience them in a different way.
as i sit and write about our experience yesterday, i am filled with a great calm and a sense of satisfaction. i am excited about what the new day will bring, what new sights we will see, what sorts of people we will meet, what great gifts will be given us this day. my prayer is that each of us will have a wonderful adventure today, rejoicing in what God gives us, and thinking of how we can each be a servant to those we encounter.