Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Like an ancient spirit, Devil's Tower stood far across the plane quiet but strong in its declaration that it was here first.  Before the ancestors of any of us, human, antelope, or wolf walked across the plains in search of a living, the tower was there. Native American cultures such as Arapaho, Crow, Kiowa, Lakota, Cheyenne and Shoshone trace their origins to the rock.  Names like "Bear's Tipi," "Bear's Lodge," "Tree Rock," "Aloft on a Rock," are all given to the tower.  The Lakota Sioux have several similar names but for obvious reasons, also call it, "Penis Rock."
Each of these tribes trace its origins to the rock which rises 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River in Wyoming.  It was already a sacred monument long before President Theodore Roosevelt declared it America's first National Monument in 1906.
Humans have tried to conquer the tower much as we have tried to conquer much of nature.  We see towering mountains as a challenge.  Even the most uninviting environments. . . . ..

 . . .have become home to someone.

We saw the Great Plains . . . loaded our wagons . . . hitched our oxen and set off, accumulating settlements as we went.

Log houses went up quickly and easily when trees were plentiful
Whole communities were built with styles that changed as new settlers moved in bringing new technologies.
Where there were no trees, the sod, itself was cut into blocks to build dark, yet warm sod homes. Winters were hard and long.  Little light or snow entered the home.
Wherever we settled, we changed our surroundings . . . squaring up trees to give us flat walls. . . 

Building tanks to hold water pulled out of the ground.
We have continued to change the landscape in our effort to live, whether it is by building windmills to give us much needed water,
Or digging into the earth for minerals and other resources to make our lives easier

Like ants, we change our world, one tiny piece at a time.  

Someday generations of humans will be no more. Our descendants, like our ancestors will return to carbon. 
 I don't know when that will be but I wonder will some of the rocks remain . . . standing erect, waiting to see what will go by next.

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