"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

October 17, 2011

Along the Way: Day 2

"America is rather like life. You can usually find in it what you look for. 
It will probably be interesting, and it is sure to be large."
~ E.M. Forster (1879-1970)

I have learned that on trips, as in life, there is the inevitable detour. You can roll with it or you can get upset about it but I've found these moments to be embraced rather than feared. I've never minded a side road or a byway over a highway. We deliberately made certain we would have some lower-mileage days to anticipate "off-roading" away from the interstate when we could. We all like bushwhacking in the countryside looking for old barns and buildings or unusual discoveries not found in the average guide book.

In the northwestern corner of Missouri, tucked on the right of Nebraska on the east side of the Missouri River––and just under Iowa––we had such an opportunity. We would learn that the Missouri River had been deliberately flooded this year to relieve flooding concerns in more populated areas. Those who suffered from this mandate were, of course, numerous farms and businesses along the flood plain. Interstate 29 was closed for several exits because of weakened road beds from earlier flooding. So, we ambled along the route that they told us to take, figuring we'd get back on the interstate further up within a bit of time.

Instead we enjoyed a several hour rural odyssey because we were soon to make a wrong turn from the detour route. Later on neither of us could determine why we'd turned at the old schoolhouse and continued on, because we had clearly gotten off the road we were told to stay on. But something led us down a country road and we were all gladdened for it. 

The High Creek Church (in Watson, Missouri) was an unexpected discovery [their blog has information about its history and preservation]. If a location scout for a movie was looking for the perfect country church, this would be it. And they wouldn't have to change or add a thing. It had a welcoming feeling and it's the kind of place I could tuck into once a week, no matter the denomination. It has presence, peace, solitude. Now, in editing these photos, I realize the irony of the name given the flooding and the detour because of it. We left a donation in an envelope and I expect it is safe, just as everything seems to have been left just as it is. Trust. It's a rare thing these days.

This Gothic Revival country  church was a delightful find: open, welcoming,
preserved by a dedicated group of local people, and on a quiet country road.
We could have spent all day inside and out of it.
We loved this old tree and the burial ground behind it.

My favorite hymn of all time.

If we could build a church on our farm it would be this one.
As a singer I was delighted to test out the fabulous acoustics, too.
I know it is selfish, but imagine a private place to reflect, pray, sing in!? 

You have no idea how grateful I was to find this outhouse in the church yard!

You come back when you're ready!


PS I wasn't going to "out" the High Creek Church or its location until I realized that they have a blog and actively seek donations for its continued preservation.


  1. WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL PICTURES! The church is certainly inviting but the outhouse behind it is even more so (for those of us who take B/P meds with diuretics in them). I am looking forward to more of your pictures and your wonderful writing.

  2. Absolutely lovely shots of the old church. Sometimes life's detours are there for a reason, whether we immediately see it or not?

  3. Madame, you have out-done yourself! I have always felt that the interstate system of highways should be restricted to people who have only one destination and the need to arrive at it in the greatest hurry. What an absolutely lovely collection of photographs of this treasured little church. Your words are lovely, too. Is that your family in the pictures?

  4. What a beautiful old church...and the kind of seats that make you sit up and pay attention.

  5. Just discovered your blog re High Creek, the barn pictured is on the farm co-owned by my brother and me, part of the original John Stoner farmground. John donated part of his land for the High Creek Church way back in the 1870's. Nice to see a "foreigner" appreciate this land we so love!

    Brenda Greenley Rickman < Kathleen Cloepfil Greenley < Beulah Stoner Cloepfil< U G Stoner< John Stoner

    1. Hi Brenda, we so enjoyed our detour and the unexpected delights of High Creek Church. I always encourage more people to take a detour or to get lost whenever possible to enjoy more of our beautiful country.

      What a fine legacy for your family! Thank you for visiting here.

      Best wishes, Catherine Pond


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