We recently took a trip out to Washington, driving through the Badlands…stopping at the Custer Memorial and Mt. Rushmore on the way out, and Yellowstone on the way home. I’d been there before, but it had been a long time, and I’d forgotten just how stark–and yet how beautiful–part of that country is.
We often drove for miles, seeing only an occasional house. Small towns…where you could buy the basics you might need, but you’d need to plan an all-day trip that would include significant driving time in order to do major clothes / grocery / appliance shopping.
Lots of deer…periodic sightings of buffalo…bringing memories of what used to be.
At night the stars were brilliant, because they didn’t have to compete with all the city lights that are so prevalent where I live. We stopped for a while one night to allow our grandson to see what it was really like to see stars.
There’s a part of me that would love the solitude…but another part of me that would go stir-crazy after a while. I would not have made a good pioneer wife!
And yet…maybe the best way to describe my reaction is to share some of what I journaled one evening:
There’s an incredibly stark…awe-ful…lonely beauty about this country. I especially noticed it last night as were driving in. Houses few and far between–little light sources in the middle of the incredible darkness of night.
It would take a special kind of personality to live comfortably out here! I’m glad for the visit–and while part of me would like the solitude, I would also find it very difficult.
I have a renewed appreciation for the words of the song I learned as a kid. I really only remembered the first verse, but as I searched for it and found the other verses, I found that it truly catches up what I experienced on that journey:
1. Oh, give me a home
Where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard
A discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.2. How often at night
2. When the heavens are bright
With the lights from the glittering stars
Have I stood there amazed
And asked as I gazed
If their glory exceeds that of ours.
3. Oh, give me a land
Where the bright diamond sand
Flows leisurely down the stream;
There the graceful, white swan
Goes gliding along
Like a maid in a heavenly dream.
4. Where the air is so pure,
The zephyrs so free,
The breezes so balmy and light,
That I would not exchange
My home on the range
For all of the cities so bright.
5. Oh, I love those wild flowers
In this dear land of ours,
The curlew I love to hear scream,
And I love the white rocks
And the antelope flocks
That graze on the mountain tops green.