Monday, June 4, 2012

What's in a Name?

 Rock outcropping at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve

Three years ago we decided to move back from Idaho to our home state of Wisconsin.  My husband was born and raised in Madison and I'm from the Milwaukee area.  We picked a small town  on the west side of the state to call home, Viroqua.  My grandparents (both sides) lived in this area of the state, which is called the Driftless Area.  This region of the state was left uncovered by the glaciers.  Because of this,  the land didn't have the leveling effect of continental glaciers, and so it has been exposed to weather and erosion which has resulted in deep valleys that drain into the Mississippi River over the span of 243 million years.   To me this means beautiful rolling hills, valleys and very fertile soil. 

                                                                                            Viroqua is just Southest of La Crosse

Within this region is the Kickapoo River, named after the Kickapoo Indians.  The name means "one who goes here, then there."   The river is very crooked and doubles back on itself in places.  It is 130 miles long, but as the crow flies, it is only 60 miles!

My grandparents had a farm along the Kickapoo River and growing up I was always so fascinated with the name.  I always got such a kick saying the name and telling people that my grandparents lived along the Kickapoo River, because not too many people had ever heard of this river, so it was a totally new word to them.  I suppose also as a kid there probably was the silliness factor of the word "poo" being at the end! 

This area of the state has always held a special place in my heart.  All of my grandparents have since passed and all of my relatives moved out of the area as soon as they grew up, except an uncle who lives a 1/2 hour away.  It's hard for me to understand why anyone would want to move away from this beautiful area, but back then farming was pretty much the only option and this county is actually one of the poorest in the state, so the cities had a lot more to offer back then. 

When I was looking to start a blog, I wanted a name which reflected this area and the meaning it held for me.  It was between Driftless and Kickapoo for the name in the title, and I opted for Kickapoo because of my family roots and Chronicles because this blog is a time line of events in my life.

This blog has become mainly about my art, but looking at the meaning of Kickapoo again makes me realize that maybe my blog needs to go here and there a little bit more, just like the river!

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