Compass: The Overlook

Hello! This week I’ll take us closer to home and describe a beautiful place in Wisconsin. La Crosse Wisconsin is on the Mississippi River. It has a population of about fifty-one thousand and, as you might imagine, is a pretty bustling city.

I go every year in the fall for this event called Youth Convention. It’s essentially thousands of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan teens that join together to play games, jam to music, and listen to the selected speaker. It’s a time of learning and meeting new people, which is pretty fun. Now that you know why I was in La Crosse for this particular time, we can move on.

My youth group was going on a “surprise adventure,” which really was code for “an activity to occupy these rambunctious teens’ time for a few hours.” So our whole herd of like two dozen people packed into our vans and started driving up a hill. It was fall, as I said before, so the surrounding forest was a lovely orange and brown. There were many bare trees and leaves were in trenches on the side of the road.

When we started driving up the hill, it was dusk, so by the time we pulled up to the parking lot, it was nightfall. Our vans parked and we piled out. There were stone pillars a few meters up the way that had a circle roof on top. There were bathrooms adjacent to the vans, so a few students hurried over to them. We all walked over to the pillars and my youth pastor places the juice boxes, cookies, and cheesecake bites on a table under the roof and like any typical teen, we all devoured the food. It was a brisk night and we all wore light jackets.

Outside of the structure was a stone railing and those stationary binoculars you put money into. This adventure was technically an overlook over La Crosse. After wandering around for a bit, we found a paved pathway and it led to a lower level, mainly with brush and flowers. It was peaceful and nice for the few moments before the rest of the teens found us and flooded.

Although the snacks were good and the scenery was nice, the coolest thing was the view from our overlook. We could see the city’s lights. Aside from the lights of the houses, we could see the faintest resemblance of a river due to the lack of lights. As far as the horizon, there were residential lights and it was neat to see the city from a new angle.

Here’s the hopeless romantic in me: each of the lights that belong to houses had little people in them. They were real people, just living their lives. I will never know them and they will never know me, but we are people together. I was able to experience a brisk night and have my thoughtful mind blown, so it the “activity to occupy these rambunctious teens’ time for a few hours” was a success. There are no pictures this week, but it’s close enough that you might be able to visit. Thank you for traveling the country with me, even though it might even be in your backyard!