Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fruited Plains

I wonder if there is a better way to learn America than by driving it. Maybe the pioneers and those early explorers absorbed it as well, but for me I think plodding slowly by foot over the trails I would lose the country in the hugeness of it all; I think it would absorb me instead.

Flying you see patchworks and glimpses, but if you drive you know the land you go through. The changing scenes get tucked away inside you mile by mile somehow, always part of you. We learned our country, length and breadth. We drove through mountains and deserts and plains - nearly every extreme America offers.

We saw Wyoming in November, all long straw colored grass and the dark brown humps of buffalo. We stopped at Little Big Horn in Montana and walked the battlefield to really understand where it all happened. The kids still just remember seeing the markers where each soldier was found, and looking at the few artifacts that had been recovered. We looked over the landscape and talked about the tragedy of a people who had always lived in that huge space and were being forced to leave. They could understand a little better the ideas of sacred land and ties to a home that wasn't a building when they had seen some of it themselves.

1 comment:

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binoculars, birdwatching