Determined to see if the Sedge Meadow (snowmobile) Trail connects the northeast corner of the Navarino Wildlife Area to the rest of the area, two Fridays ago I drove past the mud compound to the end of the road, and started walking south. The first half mile of the trail had been mowed, the grass-eater having chewed up and spewed out one of those lovely new snowmobile trail signs. It made me laugh.
The grass-eater veered west and left me wading south through the fall flowers and into the cattails and grasses of the Sedge Meadow. There are, by the way, as many species of grasses as there are kinds of dragonflies. Some grasses are sticky; some are sharp enough to lash my hands with paper thin cuts. Some grasses turn red. Some bear seeds that droop like heads of wheat. Some seeds are embedded in my socks and shoes scratch me still. Phragmite seeds completely coated the sweat on my arms. How easily they travel; how hard it was to brush them off where they I had been dusted by them.
The Crossing, Part One
I made four forays into the Navarino Wildlife Area three Fridays ago. The first was from the trailhead just east of the Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, founded by Norwegians who had crossed the Atlantic on "sailboats" to come to the U.S. in the years following the Civil War. The first Norwegian worship service in Shawano County was conducted in a home on what is now Highway 156 in 1869 by the Rev. E. J. Homme. Another was held a month later, with Pastor Homme promising to offer two services a year from then on. In 1870 and '71, however, Pastor Homme offered 4 services each year, and by 1873, two congregations were meeting every other month. One of the two congregations became the present day Navarino Lutheran Church; the other became Jerusalem Lutheran, which was officially organized in 1874. Eight years later, Pastor Homme established an orphanage in Wittenberg which, as a ministry of Lutheran Social Services, still serves young men with a history of trauma who need help to "overcome their past and live out their potential" as they cross from adolescence to adulthood.