Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for.....

I is for .....Isthmus.

An isthmus (rhymes with Christmas) is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas, usually with bodies of water on either side.

The only reason I know this is because I went to college on an isthmus. You see, Madison is one of only two major US cities built on an isthmus, the other being Seattle. The Madison Isthmus forms the heart of downtown Madison and houses the twin engines of the city's economy, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin State Capital. The Madison Isthmus is bounded by Lake Mendota on one side and Lake Monona on the other.

To be honest, while I was a student at the University of Wisconsin, I thought Isthmus was just the name of an alternative weekly newspaper that I read to kill time every once in a while. Only later did I realize the geographical significance of all those trips up and down State Street. Looking at this aerial view, it's amazing to think that I lived the better part of 5 years on that stretch of land known as the Madison Isthmus.

Every summer we spend about a week in Madison visiting with friends. My buddy has a great view of the isthmus from his house. We often sit on his deck at dusk, the Capital dome in the distance, the waters of Lake Mendota and Lake Monona shimmering in the fading light. It's a view I didn't even know existed when I was in college, but it's one I treasure now.


  1. Lovely photos. Nice to "meet" you on the a-z challenge. Good luck!

  2. Your densely populated isthmus looks precarious (rhymes with nefarious).

  3. The word "isthmus" sounds very long and hissy. You are a very lucky man to have a friend who lives in such a beautiful place, and to have the opportunity to take this amazing photo.

  4. Karen: Thanks for stopping by and the follow.

    Munk: It does look a bit dicey doesn't it?

    OT: Wish I could say I took it-found it through google images.

    Jingle: Thanks for stopping by.

    Olga: It's funny, I don't think I appreciated Madison very much when I was a student. As I've gotten older, I realize how lucky I was. Can't take credit for the photo Olga-borrowed it from google images.

  5. Wow, beautiful picture! Have to admit I didn't know what an isthmus was.

  6. I have to admit I knew what an isthmus was. I minored in geography. I'm nerdy that way.

  7. I learned something new - THANKS!!!

  8. Squilla's AuntApril 11, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Who knew??

    I live in the state next door, have traveled through much of Wisconsin, and yet have never been to Madison. Even more than that, all I've ever heard about Madison is that it is on a lake and the scenery is beautiful. Not one person ever mentioned it was an ISTHMUS! What an awesome bit of trivia.

  9. I grew up in Edmonton Alberta, on the prairie as it were, and an isthmus is like the inverse!

  10. As a Washingtonian native born, raised, and lived near Seattle, it shames me to admit that I did not realize Seattle is built on an isthmus. Thankfully, your fact-giving on the matter has opened my eyes to this!

  11. That's one beautiful view.
    Recently I've had to own up to a bit of an inconvenient urge to travel to far-flung places. I had major wanderlust in my twenties, but it was a bit easier to indulge. With three small kids and pitiful finances we're confined pretty much to trips to Scotland and camping in Cornwall. Your photo makes me want to book a flight. Oh dear!