A Day Trip to the Middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin

Contoured field in Southern Wisconsin

My wife and I left Chicago without a destination — or even a partially planned itinerary. We simply started driving west.

Along the way, we passed through several small farm towns in northern Illinois. And, life seemed normal. The fields were planted, people were outside, and restaurants were open. There was little evidence of the pandemic.

After a short drive, we stopped in Genoa, Illinois to grab some food. While we ate lunch in our car, we discussed our options for the day. And, we agreed to chart a new course. Instead of aimlessly heading west, we decided to head north into the rolling hills of southern Wisconsin. Once there, I hoped that we’d find a style of sustainable farming, called contour cultivation.

(When I proposed that we drive to Wisconsin to look at fields, I’m guessing my wife heard, “want to drive to the middle of nowhere and see nothing?”)

Contour cultivation in Wisconsin

A Remarkable View of a Contoured Field

When we “arrived” a couple of hours later, we parked on a long, straight road with two ordinary looking fields on both sides. At first glance, there was nothing particularly special about this spot. It felt like we really had driven to the middle of nowhere to look at nothing.

Luckily, I decided to take my drone out for a quick flight. Shortly after takeoff, I found a contoured field in the distance. As I approached the field, I was blown away by both the shapes and the colors. The freshly-planted crops created bands of color — and endless opportunities for abstract photography. I was in heaven!

I photographed the field for no more than 30 minutes that day. As I thought about the investment of time — the 3+ hour drive each way — I wondered for a second if it was worth it. But, it was. It was a much needed break from the pandemic. And, it was a reminder that you don’t need to fly to the ends of the earth to see something awesome.

Beautiful field in Wisconsin

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