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Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: Gravity

Chris Fink

To get to Gravity Hill, one of the world's mystery spots, you must traverse Judgment Street, which runs parallel to a street called Mercy and crosses another called Truth. The way to Gravity Hill, in other words, is not a trifling journey.


When you pass Mineral Street, you're in the vicinity. The earliest Europeans came to Wisconsin seeking lead, not mystery. And it's no coincidence that Gravity Hill arises here in the heart of the country where that heavy element once abounded.

At least that's what I theorize to my wife Breja and my kid Iris. Iris sits in the backseat with her nose in a book, lost in other mysteries, but Breja's game. She's on Google reading about the laws of physics. “Did you know,” she says, “that if we lived on a lighter planet, our bodies would also be less heavy?” I let that one sink in.

What set in motion my family's journey to Gravity Hill is a complicated story. But when we arrive on a rainy Father's Day afternoon, two minivans are already here, rolling uphill in their vehicles. We wait our turn to play in the fields that defy nature. It takes us a minute to find the vortex. But after two or three tries, our Chevy, when shifted into neutral, does indeed roll uphill, backward even, at a speed Breja considers unsafe.

“Iris, isn't that amazing?” I say. “Yes, dada,” she intones from the backseat.

Before we leave, a bulky black SUV with Mississippi plates pulls up next to us. The draw of Gravity Hill can be felt from tremendous distances. “Did it work for you all?” the driver asks. “You bet,” I say, giving him a universal thumbs up.

I'm Chris Fink and that's my perspective.