Monday, September 04, 2006

Quiet moment

I was meant to go to a pow wow down in Porcupine, on the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation. I’d seen one years ago, and the idea of going to another tugged hard. Such spectacles of tradition and skill honor a glorious past of peoples whose recent history has been less than it should have been, and it seemed a cheat to visit the country that was theirs long before ours, and not pay them tribute.

But I just wasn’t ready to leave Badlands National Park. I sat outside my simple cabin, propping my back against the stucco. A pair of cottontail rabbits ambled past, unconcerned. Small turquoise birds lit in the mesquite by my picnic table; a trio of fat pigeon-like warblers with long tails and regal black-and-white patterns in their features settled beneath my car. Clouds danced overhead, and the sun flitted through in a gentle symphony.

I wandered across the road and down a creekbed still moist with fall off from the morning rain. I moved further from the road and into the prairie grass. Around the bend stood a pair of mule deer. They watched warily, then deciding I was no threat, went back to the evening graze.

The sun faded. The cars became fewer. The breeze dropped. The chirps and caws and squeaks of birds wafted around me, and for a brief moment, I was veiled from the society of man, alone with the world on its own terms. This is why I had come on this trip, and if there are no more moments so quiet and serene, at least I have had this one.

1 comment:

Sarah Eaton said...

Hello Jane,

What a beautiful post - my favorite so far. I'm so glad that you found such a moment and hope you'll have many more to come on your trip. While it's tempting to go, go, go, and see more sights, it's equally important to slow down, or even stop, at times and savor the beauty that surrounds you. For me, those are the moments I will never forget.