Wow it has been quite a while since I typed that myself! How have you all been? I know for you guys nothing is different but it’s been two weeks since I’ve actually sat down and written something. Why? Because I’ve been on vacation! Ok, in truth I wrote some personal poetry over the vacation, and I may share that in the future, but not today. Today will be a vacation sharing day and maybe some discussion about perspectives from it.
Boom! There’s the family (minus my sister who couldn’t attend). I could go day by day but to be honest that’s 12 days and I don’t have that kind of time. Here we had just landed in Billings, Montana. Trust me, it was a stressful morning. We literally got on the plane 2 minutes before take off. In fact, we got to the airport just 40 minutes before it left, because I had accidentally forgot to put something in the car and we had to go back for it. Hence the happy expressions when we actually landed at our destination.
Alright so next up was the Battle of Little Bighorn memorial site. Which was a harrowing adventure, since I am part Native American, and yet apparently some of my great grandparents knew people that died in this battle. Of course, things were different then, but it made me think about how we quickly generalize disdain for soldiers when quite often they are just there following orders so that they can make a living.
We also checked out the Devil’s Tower national park. It’s a super cool…mountain? It kind of just juts out of the Earth, which I guess could be why it’s called Devil’s Tower. The myth behind it is, in a quick recap, that there were children playing who were suddenly chased by an enormous bear. They scrambled up the side of this rock, and when the bear pursued, he was unable to climb as well as them, so he ended up clawing at the rock instead, which is where all the markings on the rock come from. It certainly makes sense, were that possible, since the lines cascading down the rock look deep and almost claw-like.
The next stage of our journey was down to Mount Rushmore. As with most of this trip, things were super cool. The top picture is a panorama I took from the Norbek Observatory which overlooks a forest. If you can, zoom in on the rock to the left of that large tree on the middle-right section. You can see Rushmore from there. It was a really cool day to feel American and proud.
Of course, my pride didn’t end there. Like I mentioned above, I am part Native American, though in fairness it’s more blood than cultural background or understanding. This was taken at Crazy Horse, which if you don’t know anything about, I suggest you check it out. This is literally history in the making. It’s a huge monument to the first people of the Americas that is privately funded. To give you an idea of the size, see that top left picture? See the face in the center at the top? It’s facing to the right to give you perspective, in case you cant see it right away. That will be a head that is the size of all of Mount Rushmore, and in all honesty it’s something that should get more attention, because it’s a part of our culture that is mostly overshadowed by white history.
Also in this area was Sylvan Lake, which is where this picture was taken. This is on top of a rock that was in the middle of the lake, and it was incredible. Have you ever jumped off a boulder into water? This was my first time in memory, and it’s both thrilling and terrifying. Try it out sometime! (Be safe).
On our way out of South Dakota and into Montana, we found some different, interesting places. The top two pictures were from a graffiti wall, which is something I think we should have more of. Often times art is an expression rather than an image to behold, and this is a great way to make it a positive outlet rather than an illegal one. The second one is a Norwegian style church, which apparently is an exact replica of one in Norway. It was quiet and cute, and it really wasn’t awe inspiring. Which I think made it all the better, because it was just a little piece of history, carved out of time for the people around it to see. There weren’t people flocking to it, it wasn’t some money maker for greedy church people like mega churches can be. It was just a nice, homely place to visit.
Speaking of homely stuff, this place was the bomb, which is why I’m giving it a personal rant moment, because now that I am back in California I won’t get another taste for a long time. It was not only delicious, it was this cute little dive that just was perfect in taste. Oh, and their large sandwich was 17 inches long. So you know, challenge accepted. It really summed up the area though. It was a cute, innovative place with a community oriented feel. It cared about the customers as much as making a profit, and it provided opportunities for people to interact in a way that they might not always get to. If you ever get the chance, PLEASE go check them out.
Alright, last picture for this blog entry is from Yellowstone. We saw Old Faithful, we splashed around the river, we toured the sulfurous hot springs. But nothing compared to seeing the Buffalo. They were so majestic, which I feel like has become an overused word that no longer does the animals justice. But they really were like something caught out of time. They weren’t quiet by any means, but the valley was so huge that their noise sounded like a pin dropping in an empty room. Audible, but consumed and enveloped by the space around it. That doesn’t exist in L.A., as much as I wish it did.
Things out there move slower. And it’s great. Sure, there’s a lot of isolation that I’m sure could be hard for someone to deal with, but there’s also a grandeur of the countryside that make you just want to breath deeply and go for a walk. It begs exploration. The kind of space that wants you to pack a bag of supplies and go camp out. I’m thankful that I was given the opportunity to go on this trip. We also did some other visiting, swam in the Yellowstone river in a cabin, and we checked out the grave site of my grandmother. Both were amazing in their own way, but sometimes you have to put the phone and the camera down to just appreciate what you have. For me, those were moments like that, and I’m happy I have them as memories. Until next time! Maybe I’ll share some of the poetry I wrote out there soon.