After walking through Laura Ingall’s house, Rocky Ridge Farm, I sat for awhile on a bench just outside, taking in the house and the lives lived there. Trees still towered over the roof, providing shade and the peaceful rustle of leaves. The building itself was rather non-descript, except for its occupants. Here Wilder had created a home of her own, a three dimensional story that people can still explore and that is linked to her creation of the Little House books. Her life was one of intentionally living in the places around her – giving her plenty of material with which to later build these still popular books.
When I got up, I went to the bookstore to buy some of the creations that came from this place. These were some of the first chapter books I remember reading and I always enjoyed picturing myself in the adventures in which Laura and the others found themselves. I walked through the store at least four times pondering what books to buy for myself – focusing on those about travel and place – and what to buy for my nieces and nephew. I wanted to purchase books that would draw them into these stories so they might catch a flicker of interest in writing, reading, and journeys. Maybe some day they will find themselves outside of the house of an author, musician, or scientist who inspired them.
I was ready to leave after taking a quick tour through the Rock House, a house Laura and Almanzo’s daughter, Rose, had built for them on an a distant part of the property. Then I noticed the trail. There is a walking path – just over a mile – between the two homes, but it had been closed due to excessive rain over the past weeks. I had been disappointed that I could not walk the path when the guide at Rocky Ridge had said it was closed. However, this part of the trail didn’t look too bad and I did not see a sign saying stay out, so I started walking – and kept going through woods and meadows. I took time to look at wildflowers, watch butterflies flit from plant to plant, and feel the cool of the shade in the woods. It was a quiet walk. No one else was around. I felt a little rebellious venturing into a closed area. Further and further I ventured, breathing deeply and wondering what was over the next hill.
How fun to just play and have a mini adventure. I was letting my bonnet carelessly hang down my back as Laura was wont to do in so many of the stories. Not a bad practice.