Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Posting my trip pictures to Facebook generated a lot of conversation about the spirituality of the West. The comments that emerged most were 'spiritual', 'peaceful,' and 'healing.'

All true. One of my former fellow Jersey moms (former because of me, not her :))pointed out that the Northeast Corridor of the US has a go-go-go mentality, an astute observation. Truly, I replied, there is a low-level hum that's in the air here at home that's inescapable, even if you are hiking or camping.

I think I was out there two or three days before I realized I wasn't hearing that hum. And that I could hear myself think.

Meanwhile, I tied these feelings into other observations. For example, there is a real respect for Native American culture. I had been impressed with my visit to the Museum of the American Indian in DC a few weeks ago, but couldn't escape the guilt factor that seemed to permeate the place. And the guilt factor is compounded by the removal from experience--after all, Eastern settlements are old compared to the West. The real conflicts played out past the Missisippi where the Native populations were literally beaten into submission.

And you can feel this out West. You can feel the regret, whereas in the East, the regret is more academic than visceral. No, you can feel the ferocity, insistence that we remember that the Native American is part of this land, tempered with a deep respect of the spiritual investment (there has to be a better word, but this will do) that both the native and white settlers have for this land.

And what better explanation for those pictures we took at dusk on the Yellowstone river? This is holy ground.

And truly, there are not many places like it left here on earth.

No comments: