On Monday I hiked the trails at Effigy Mounds National Monument in N.E. Iowa. The Effigy Mounds were created by prehistoric Native Americans who lived in the region. These mounds were created on and alongside the bluffs of the upper Mississippi River. On Monday morning I had the northern trails to myself.
On the way to Firepoint I spooked a pair of golden eagles….twice. Majestic birds, whose wingspan were possibly longer than my arms spread out. Near Twin Points I spooked 3 deer. This is what came to mind:
The drop of Unami blood that runs in my veins pushes its way through the hordes of European to appreciate this sacred place. It’s not her native land but she respects it all the same. She leads me along the paths through the trees. At times she is frustrated with the white that I am. “How will you see the eagle when you clomp along the path? How will you see the deer without scaring them when you tromp through the woods like a bull? Go quiet, gentle. Listen for the birds in the trees. Hear the breeze through the branches. Feel the sun on your face. Hear the flies buzzing by. See the butterfly resting on the leaf. See the chipmunk watching from the log. See the caterpillar on the path. Honor Mother Earth and you will see and hear her gifts.”
I listened to my ancestor and this is what I saw and heard.
A barge rumbles past as it goes north. A train, doing the same, heads south. Two geese honk as they fly just above the calm water.
Trees at Great Bear Mound
Butterfly on Leaf. Can’t see him? Look at the top leaf on left side of the photo. If you still can’t see him, click on the photo and you’ll get a better view.
Headdress? When I came upon this stump it reminded me of the headdress an Indian Chief would wear. The spray of broken wood looks like feathers.
View of Hangng rock and Mississippi River to the north.
View from Twin Point.
Along for the ride.
Through the treees. Butterflies, robins, orioles flitted between the branches. Chipmunks scurried in the underbrush.
Fungi on tree
Caterpillar Crossing (Look closely, can you see him?)
Monarch Takes flight
He did not sing “Hakuta Matata”
Mother Earth, thank you for the privilege to walk upon your sacred ground. May those who come in the future respect this ground as those who came before.
If you want to read more about the Effigy Mounds here is a link to the National Parks website.