The Mississippi!

Friday, May 30, 2014

You ask what land I love the best, Iowa, 'tis Iowa
The fairest state in all the west, Iowa, O!  Iowa,
From yonder Mississippi's stream
To where Missouri's waters gleam
O! fair it is as poet's dream, Iowa, in Iowa!
--S.H.M Byers, from the Iowa State Song

Within the last week we've visited Madrid, Luxemburg, Rhodes, and (New) Vienna, and driven by Cambridge and Waterloo.  If we were really up to travelling, we could also have visited Moravia, Peru, Brazil, Denmark, Paris, Moscow, Glasgow, Lebanon, Iconium, Bethlehem, Montezuma, Tripoli, Troy, Mount Zion, Montpelier, Nevada, Washington, Shenandoah, Williamsburg, Charleston, West Point, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Oakland, and Carson, all without leaving the grand state of Iowa!  Sounds like a vacation around the world, doesn't it?

The countryside in Northeastern, Iowa is very different from the central part of the state.  There are more and higher hills, rocky cliffs, and a lot of trees.  Between New Vienna and North Buena Vista, where we reached the Mississippi, my ears popped several times due to altitude changes.  

This area of the state is predominantly Catholic, so there are grottoes carved in the cliffs, and many towns have large brick or stone Catholic churches.   

The county highways are in noticeably worse shape than in central Iowa; some seem to have almost worn through the blacktop, but the land is beautiful.  Men's creations age and disintegrate, but God's creation retains its beauty throughout the centuries.  

After traveling over many winding roads (and wondering how well a big river like the Mississippi can hide), we finally reached the river.  North Buena Vista seemed to be a very small town with hardly anyone around (An internet search reveals it has a population of 121).

We crossed these railroad tracks, got out of our truck, walked down to the river, and dabbled our fingers in the waters of the mighty Mississippi.  

The last time we visited the Mississippi was 4 or 5 years ago when we crossed the river farther north, near Prairie du Chien.  We would have liked to continue our explorations along the river, but duty called us away.  As we listened to the sounds of a freight train thundering across the tracks on the Wisconsin side of the longest river in the United States, we bid the Mississippi farewell, and headed homeward.

One thing I am thankful for on our trip was the traveling mercies the Lord blessed us with!  Isaiah 54:10 says, "The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee."  In other words, while troubles and trials will still come our way, it's more likely for the mighty Mississippi to be moved or dried up than for Jesus' love and mercy toward us to fail.  We have a great God!

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned;neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.  
For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour."  --Isaiah 43:2-3


  1. This looks like a fun trip! :) How funny that Iowa has all those foreign place names.
    I like what you said in your last paragraph about it being more likely for a mighty river to dry up than for Jesus love to fail. Amen!

  2. Wow the photos you captured of the place are just stunning, so full of life- it is always nice to be in contact with nature. Thank You Bethany for sharing.


  3. I love all photographs, seems you had a great trip.
    Have a good week ahead :)

    Liuba G

  4. Thanks Paige, Laura, and Liuba! :)