GABE HAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY
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As I travel a road I have traveled probably a thousand times before, I start to feel the oppression that is seeing the same landscape of rolling hills and people that can't read a speed limit sign. Doing this time and time again was becoming mentally oppressive. Accepting that your daily drive to work is going to be as fun as having a tooth pulled, can help make you more comfortable with it, but until the sedative kicks in, you can feel the pick digging around in your brain, poking the sensitive spots and asking "Does that hurt?" as you scream in pain.
To give some context, I was driving a daily 10 mile one way commute on a two lane, 55 mph highway. Some mornings I would start off behind a farm tractor, with no option to pass till I was already late to work. Ever been stuck behind a slow moving vehicle when your late to work, and have no option to pass it? Now you know the feeling. This drive got to be so bad that my wife, who also had to do this same fun drive had had enough and said we needed to move. Finally, no more tractors, attempting to drive in endless winter snow. I know it could be worse. We could live in a major city and have a two hour commute every day. The problem with having to drive through farm country everyday, is the boredom. In a big city commute, you have sights, you have sounds and action. Country commute, you see cornfields, and those don't change. So we moved.
It was glorious. We lived in a big town, there was sights, and action, and change. It took the same amount of time as the country commute. Everything was great. We still had to drive that country road once in a while to see family. Doing that once a month is a lot more tolerable than however many times times a month. Then I started to take pictures on the drive. I started to see stuff differently. I saw changes, and scenery that had been there all along, but was too stuck in hating a daily drive to enjoy it. I saw how lights came through the trees, or reflected off a cornfield that had turned to a burnt golden color.
This led me to try and see what else was around a town I had been living or traveling to for years, but had never really explored. Sure we walked the dogs down the quiet streets, but this was being tourist. I explored a graveyard that I would pass daily, always thinking it would be nice to finally stop thinking and actually walk around and see what was there. You know what? That graveyard was an amazing collection of faded civil war era tombstones, mixed with new masterpiece slabs of marble that had entire scenes inscribed into them. I traveled down roads that, whenever I would pass them, I would think "I wonder whats down there".
This eventually led me to the waterfalls. Well, what passes for waterfalls in corn country. After a trip to Oregon and seeing the gorgeous scenery out there, I wanted to see if there were any waterfalls in Iowa. A quick search led to ones 4 hours away, which is doable, but that's a trip itself. Then I saw that the local lake has a waterfall area. Go figure. The day after reading about it, I told my wife that we were going exploring. I wasn't able to find clear directions to where these waterfalls were, but I had an idea. When we pulled into what I guessed was the right place, my wife commented on how excited I seemed. I was excited. I was getting to see waterfalls close to where we live. Heck yea.
There was a path on top of a dam that lead to the area. Walking along here, I felt the wind on my face. I saw the birds overhead, looking for a meal. Its probably a quarter mile to the other side of the lake. It feels free.
Then I heard it. the familiar sound of rushing water. "It's true!" I thought as i tried to not run to see it. I walked down a stone path and there it was. I just stood there in awe. It's not the tallest, most secluded area in the world, but it is someplace that I feel I belong. I turned to my wife and could only say one thing. "This is awesome." She simply replied "Yea, it is."
After walking around the area a little bit, we went home. I couldn't shut up about how happy it made me that someplace like this was so close. At the same time, I was disappointed that I never explored the area to know it was there.
Going to this area opened my eyes. I am planning on traveling more outside the area. Seeing whats out there. Exploring is something I have always been enticed with. I just needed to get out of my rut and just go do it.