I recently took a journey across the country to clear my mind in preparation for a change in my career path that started this week. My husband and I took to the roads on an adventure like we used to take in our younger days, driving through the night from North Carolina to Wyoming. As the sun rose, we found ourselves in new surroundings. We marveled at the changing landscapes as we drove through the cornfields in Iowa to the grasslands of South Dakota and the rolling hills of Wyoming. As the sun began its descent, we found ourselves at Devil’s Tower where we camped for 3 nights.
Our schedules for the day were ours to command, yet we found ourselves waking early to enjoy the beauty of the day. The first day we took a walk around the campground breathing the fresh clean air and admiring the red rock formations near the campground. We then drove to the base of Devil’s Tower and walked the trail around it.
Despite the unfortunate name, Devil’s Tower is a remarkably spiritual place. Many Native Americans leave prayer bundles tied to the trees, and they use another name for the first monument in the United States: “Bear’s Lodge”. There are many Native American stories about how this tower was formed.
As one story is told, a group of Native American girls were playing and chased by a group of bears. They climbed on a rock and prayed to the “Great Spirit” to save them. The “Great Spirit” answered their prayers by making the rock rise towards the heavens so the bears could not reach the girls. The bears tried to climb the rock and left deep claw marks down the sides of the tower. When the girls reached the sky, they were turned into the star constellation known as the seven sisters or Pleiades.
As we walked around the tower, I felt complete peace and a spiritual connection to the land. The smell of the pine trees and the chirping of the birds was enough to set my soul at ease. I took a moment to stand in awe of the beauty of this sacred place. There was a much stronger connection for me at Devil’s Tower than at Mount Rushmore, which we visited the next day.
It might seem unpatriotic, but when I visited Mount Rushmore, I felt an uneasiness being there. Perhaps it was the crowds of people that made me feel uneasy. I’m not sure. The faces of those great presidents were carved beautifully, but it felt like a desecration of nature. It felt very unnatural and cold. I preferred the natural rock formations in the Black Hills.
Luckily, we went for a walk in Blue Earth, MN (the home of the Jolly Green Giant) that set things right again. A doe was grazing in the woods, a red squirrel chided us for walking on his path, and there were many interesting plants and flowers including black walnut trees, elderberry bushes, burdock, black-eyed Susans, and blue cohosh. Peace returned.
There is something remarkable about the forest, the mountains, the trees, the lakes, the rivers, the streams. There is something remarkable about our planet that helps us find connections between each other. We should be more focused on these connections and preserving this beautiful planet, rather than greed which is destroying it.
I hope my son has a chance to experience and appreciate the wonders of this planet before climate change destroys them. I hope he can have the spiritual connection to the Earth like we were able to experience this past week. I hope any future grandchildren can also see these wonders and walk where their ancestors walked. I hope we can come together to change our ways and replenish what has been destroyed. I hope…
Are you ready to PIVOT to health and wellness?