Monday, April 18, 2016

Spirit Mound

Spirit Mound, South Dakota
Several years ago, my mom and I drove across the country to attend her sister's 50th wedding anniversary in Seattle. One of the longest stops along the way was in Vermilion, South Dakota where my grandmother lived. She lived in a lovely assisted care living facility with the nicest people that you would ever ever want to entrust a loved one to. My grandmother was in her 90's and suffering from dementia. Our conversation moved in circles, or reels as I like to think, beginning with a topic or observation, weaving out and around to pick up where we began to start all over again. We'd spend hours on the same reel picking up its musicality, and then my mother and I would venture out into the world of South Dakota.

Not far from Vermilion is Spirit Mound. When Lewis and Clark were in the vicinity, they were told by the locals that no one could ever make it to the top of the mound without being attacked by spirits who attacked intruders with projectiles. Keen to disprove the phenomenon, I would imagine, they ventured to the top and, alas, found nothing except a sweeping view of the prairie and a lot of bugs.

Over the years, farmers planted up the sides of the mound. But in good move, conservationists reclaimed the land and have brought it back to the prairie's mound that Lewis and Clark would have encountered. My mom and happily climbed on a hot, sticky, Midwestern summer day to the top of the mound. At top is a bench. We sat and watched the prairie.  In its sweeping grandeur, I can see the appeal to explore it and put it on a map.

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