The sky was shockingly blue with a simple counterpoint of fluffy white clouds. Below, the green grass rolled to the horizon. This is the great American Prairie.
Our cross-country travels took us today from Sioux Falls on the eastern edge of South Dakota to Rapid City on the other side. Between were sights, people and creatures that challenged my mind and soothed my soul.
We then went downtown to walk the Sioux Falls arts district. Each May, the city picks artists whose sculptures grace the sidewalks for a year. It's a spectacular way to give a city character.
|Venus de Cello|
The land grew wilder as we drove, especially when we turned off to the Badlands National Park. This moonscape of volcanic ash and fossil-laden rock was sculpted by wind and water. Beyond the landscape and the incredible population of wildlife at roadside, the park gave us another pleasant surprise. We qualified for a National Park Service lifetime senior citizens pass. Damn. I really am old. But give me the discounts anyway.
And the wildlife. Bison, big horn sheep, hundreds of prairie dogs, rabbits... and rattlesnakes. We paid minimal attention to the warning signs until hearing an urgent rattle in the grass and watching a snake slither under the boardwalk trail. That's the "wild" part of life.
|A big horn lamb, a rabbit, a 13-lined ground squirrel, a baby bison, a prairie dog and mamma bighorn|