We had a little chat with some wild donkeys while we were visiting Custer State Park. We were obedient little visitors and didn't feed them, but these two decided to check us out anyway. This is a gorgeous park with breathtaking mountain views, spectaular rock formations called 'needles'(yes, that's a climber)
and wonderfully perfumed air from the spruce forests. The Lakota called these Paha Sapa, Black Hills, because they are so thickly covered in the dark blanket of the Black Hills Spruce that from a distance the slopes appear black. And besides,'Dark Green Hills' just doesn't have the same poetic ring to it. A seven year drought ended this spring with great gobs of rain, and the Hills are as green as spring with the soft, lush, sparkly look one sees in May. There are a couple of lakes in the park as well and miles of old logging roads where you can enjoy beautiful views and forget that you are in a fairly crowded park.
We got to see a big horn sheep way up in the rocks, a small herd of bison, a couple of pronghorn antelope, and many deer. Although deer are common where we come from, we saw at least forty in one day, several with good size racks. And they seemed very calm, as if they know they are in a protected area. We didn't camp, but having seen some of the camp sites we are going to get a tent and some equipment. We are also going to get some suggestions from people we work with on good spots to camp on the plains closer to home. As I mentioned yesterday, the Paha Sapa are sacred to the Lakota. It is glib and cliched to go on about how one feels "closer to god" in nature settings, blah blah. But we went up to Cathedral Spires at dusk, the moon had just risen and I really felt the power of this beautiful place in a way that is hard to write about.
e-qua yona, Cherokee for 'big bear' is the only nick name I've ever had, at least one I liked. One of my favorite ever students called me that when I taught for the Eastern Band Cherokee. It is Mato Tanka in Lakota.
I have lived a nomadic life and have enjoyed most of it so far.
Seeking balance with the universe or great mystery is what life oughta be about.