By David Lindeman
It’s all about location.
I was thinking about this a few weeks ago when I made a trip to western Wisconsin. If you look on a map, you’ll see La Crosse, Wisconsin, is right across the Mississippi River from Minnesota. I didn’t know until I got there that La Crosse is a regular hangout for bald eagles.
Yes, there are eagles all over the place in that part of the world. There is the Mississippi River and lots of wetlands and apparently it’s pretty much a perfect environment for eagles.
We have a few eagles that have returned to this part of Ohio and it’s a big thing when you see one. In La Crosse, you have to work hard not to see them. They hang out in the trees and swoop across the water and generally show up everywhere. My wife and I went on a little eagle hunting expedition and we marveled at how many eagles we saw.
The people who live there, on the other hand, are pretty nonchalant about the whole eagle thing. They see them all the time. They’ve put up a couple big eagles statues to attract tourists, but mainly they go about their daily business and the eagles go about their own business. Maybe if they came here they would be in awe of our turkey vultures.
I guess it’s what you’re used to seeing. Take my grandchildren, for instance. They live in Denver, so when they come to Ohio they are overwhelmed by green. Green trees, green grass, green corn, green soybeans, green everything! On the other hand, when we visit them in Denver we are in awe of the mountains. They see them every day, so it’s not such a big deal for them.
They’re also amazed by humidity. Denver is a high, dry place. Lots of sun, not much moisture. My grandson once asked us why everything in Ohio was so “moist.” We told him that was what made everything so green. I think I convinced him it was a good thing, although when I was mowing my grass for the second time last week I was tempted to think that high, dry stuff might not be so bad.
The same principle applies to places like Troy’s Public Square. Most of us here think of it mainly as a place where the traffic piles up. We might enjoy the flowers on the square if we had a second to glance at them while avoiding other drivers who are having trouble figuring out the rights and wrongs of getting around the square in one piece.
But if you talk to someone who has never been to Troy, or maybe is coming back here after being gone for years, that person almost always will comment on the beauty of the square. We take it for granted because we see it all the time.
The courthouse, Hayner Cultural Center, the Hobart Urban Nature Preserve, Brukner Nature Center, the county parks and a lot of other places around here fit into the same category. If we would stop and spend a moment to take a really close look at them, we would be reminded how special they are.
I’d like to see a few more bald eagles around here but I’m grateful that we at least have a few. Mountains are cool, but cornfields do have a certain beauty. The Miami River might not be the Mississippi, but it has its own kind of charm in the evening when the sun is setting and a gentle breeze is blowing.
So take a moment this spring and notice something you’ve been taking for granted. My only suggestion: don’t try to do it while you’re driving around the square. You might want to park the car before you start looking around.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected].