This summer my partner and I decided that we were going to move across the country. So, we packed our car full of most of our belongings and departed towards a future unknown to us. The only goal that we had, was to see and witness the beauty all around us. This is precisely what we did. Some may say that we must always have a plan. Now, I am begrudgingly admitting that I was one of the people who firmly believed this throughout my life. I can now say that feeling completely unhinged and ‘free’ is unnerving and also really exciting.
We traveled the slow way, the right way. Driving only a few hours a day, we soaked in each road way, each turn in the river, each curve of the geology uprooting itself from the grass cover along the road. This allowed us to dive deeply into each campsite we arrived at. We rarely booked our sites. Instead, we were almost guided to each place and it felt like the hugest gift ever when we would arrive at a place and there would be the most incredible site just sitting there without a tag or remnants of any person previously there.
Sunrise was one of the first gifts that we noted and that endlessly kept on giving. One morning along the cornfields in Minnesota, we witnessed a herd of deer jump through a wheat field. Running – almost floating – they raced beside us, with the stillness of morning fog setting behind them as the sun glow began to peak. Another morning in South Dakota we were met by a whole herd of Elk beugeling and screeching at each other. We parked the car in the road and just watched their movement.
A pivotal sunrise moment for me began on one cool evening in South Dakota, feet submerged in wild white sage, and we had just finished making dinner over the open fire. We listened to Lakota Nation radio and spoke of our experiences witnessing the Pine Ridge Reservation and speaking with some of the people who live there. Our hearts were full and hurting for those who still suffer in this world. Then we decided that the next morning we would wake up before sunrise and find the wild herd of Buffalo that roamed the land we camped upon, and we would have coffee with them.
We rose from our lambskins and blankets the next morning and found dirt roads that wound us through the open and undulating prairie until we came upon a golden clearing where we heard their call. The Buffalo, majestic and powerful, stood at a high point and sang to his herd, calling them towards him and calling them towards us. We sat with our coffee in awe as we saw buffalo running from far distances towards us, as mothers and their calves gently strolled in his direction and then in ours. Before we knew it, the whole herd was moving towards us, around us, and on their way to drink from a nearby stream. Steam from their nostrils, dreadlocks on their heavy coats and their deep brown eyes glanced in our direction. We were surrounded. But not scared. For, they simply glided around us one by one, some stopping to take a peak and others simply determined to reach their final destination. The Buffalo continued his song as he moved the herd towards the water. We stood still and simply witnessed.
…to be continued…