Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Brave New World
We left today, driving through what seemed at the time to be a torrential downpour, and except for a fuzzy radio, we were silent. Krissy spent this initial leg of the journey lesson planning; Jill and Melissa took turns driving; I tore through 100+ pages of Adolus Huxley’s A Brave New World. I was a little grumpy. The weather was cold and I was starting to fear that I had severely mis-packed my clothing items. It was cold, wet, and not at all what I had originally wanted for our trip. I imagined a sunny, warm, summer roadtrip and the version I was getting did not entirely fit the bill. But then I ran across this little line in the book: “But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” I made up my mind not to focus on what my anticipations and idealisms had demanded of the trip but rather let whatever was intended for me to experience happen.
These determined thoughts in mind, we continued to trod through Nebraska, making our way further north. After eating at Jordan’s Cafe in Valentine, NE (“It was like heaven on Earth” - Jill Lisemeyer), we passed into the Rosebud Indian Reservation, officially crossing the South Dakota border.
I’ve passed through South Dakota once before, but it was during winter. Now, in the springtime, hills roll with green velvet, alive with prairie dogs, pheasants, deer, wild turkeys, and occasionally punctuated with gutted, rusting cars outside the trailer homes of the Lakota people who inhabit these plains. It’s a strange juxtaposition: startling poverty amidst startling beauty. Even more startling is stopping at a gas station and peering inside a darkened room to see the hunched backs of a half dozen silent people, stooped over casino games that make bright sounds in the black room. Such images restrain my overall admiration for the pastoral landscape.
Upon arrival to the Res, we visited the cemetary in which Chief Red Cloud is buried (pictures of the cemetery to come*) and I spent some down time finishing my book. Now I wish I brought another with me. Well, I can't read while I sleep, anyway. Which, by the way, is what I'm going to do now.
Overheard: "Look at him. Look at his smile. He's not wearing any pants when that photograph was taken, was he?"
Gastric Shout-Out: Jordan Cafe's sweet potato french fries.
Listen To: "Postcards from Italy," Beirut
* Here are some pictures of the cemetery. I thought that the grave were visually striking.