I find myself feeling very contemplative after visiting my family in the Black Hills. Everything changes yet stays the same. The nieces and nephews are taller and smarter and poised. Siblings remain employed, are wiser and more compassionate. My parents carry on. Mom cooks breakfast, Dad writes stories with imagination and humor.
My trip started with a flight to Minnesota where I was met by my sister. We had lunch at Good Earth with her long time friend.The spiced tea was a treat. We proceeded the Mall of America! For a woman who dislikes shopping, 400 stores are overwhelming! But the Sea Life aquarium was a perfect way to spend an afternoon. Shark overhead!
The next morning our destination was an hour south in Faribault . The Paradise Center for the Arts is lovingly managed by a group of artists. Classes and hands on material and galleries provide the community with chances to create. Our purpose was to make a piece of batik and Deb was so generous with her time and guidance. I'm proud of my piece...warning, can become addictive!
An eight hour drive through corn fields on both sides of I-90 took us "home". The 2 Billion year old Black Hills is a geologist's dream and is chock full of history. If you ever go there, see Mammoth a 1974 discovery of mammoth relics from 26,000 years ago and no South Dakota trip would be complete without seeing Mt. Rushmore. What a contrast of nature swallowing giant animals and then a few miles away and many centuries later humans carved faces into the granite side of a sacred mountain.
One of the highlights of my visit was to find the rumored original homestead of my great grandfather and grandmother still standing. Their family immigrated from Finland in 1888. What a joy to actually see it. The very air carried the pioneer souls that hewed the logs and plowed the land. I think of the footprint they left and am reminded that we all leave signs that we walked this land and changed it's landscape with everyday choices.
After six days I said a bittersweet goodbye. I regret leaving but am anxious to get back to my own city, home and bed. The thing I was reminded of is this; people are the same everywhere. They are kind and busy and they fashion a pace that reflects their region. But I realize we all miss the relevance of the history that shapes our geography and traditions.