Red Pump Beginnings
Can one place hold all your dreams? I believe it can. The Red Pump marks that place for me.
The Red Pump is a worn, upright cast-iron hand pump we bolted to our water well here years ago in Solon Springs. This humble monument is my center of the world. It marks the focus of where over five generations of our family have lived, learned, and played through adventures, joys, challenges, and tragedies. It is where I have grown to know much about being a son, brother, husband, father, a man. It anchors the one place where I know I can thrive the rest of my days. The Red Pump, and this land it secures, compose the stable, certain base from which I draw strength to leave and courage to return, always.
The Red Pump took residence here recently in the human history of this land. My father found the well-used pump at a nearby rural thrift store, and paid five dollars for it. The pump was a ragged, barn-red color when Dad bought it in spring, 1973. Shortly after he hauled it here, we bolted it to our newly drilled well in our small clearing in this old forest. Our deep well, along with our cherished pump, became the heart of this five-acre remnant of our family's original homestead from the post-Civil-War 1800s.
A few years later, we repainted our new-old pump a bright glossy red. Ever since, it has been “The Red Pump”. Stories and reflections in this book diverge from this central, solid cast-iron catalyst of adventure and life learning; this one place, one symbol of continuity so important.
For over 130 years, our family felt the power and attraction of this special forest haven in the Upper St. Croix Lake basin of northwestern Wisconsin; our great grandparents, grandparents, and parents have all engaged in demanding, active lives here. My wife, our sons, and I also learned its draw. We appreciate this unique site more fully as we grow wiser. There is much to tell.
The Red Pump has become the heart of our homestead. Along with our
compact living quarters in the midst of this mature, serene forest,
the Red Pump also represents the heart of the north. It reminds us
daily of the permanence of this place, the power of this climate,
and the tenacity of all who live here. The Red Pump and its stories
link to the northland Wisconsin heartbeat we have
known in our lives
for so many years, and are atop a deep reservoir of tales radiating
from our unique homestead in an old forest.
Copyright 2009 Thomas Wayne King. All Rights Reserved.