Sunday, October 4, 2009
Back to the Prairie
I returned to the American Prairie Foundation Preserve recently and got to see much more of the landscape. It's quite amazing, from prairie dog towns to a cliff the Indians once used to drive buffalo to their death so they could harvest meat as well as bones and horn and internal organs to make tooks. Little was wasted.
The short grass prairie may be dry, but it's full of life--not just prairie dogs but burrowing owls, elk, lots of pronghorn (antelope), snakes, wildflowers, sagebrush, many kinds of grasses, and more, more, more.
For me, a favorite thing to see, actually just off the actual Reserve lands, is a large polished boulder covered with petroglyphs. Most look like stylized buffalo hooves, and there's a mysterious arrow pointing towards the Missouri River--to what? A river crossing? A favorite buffalo grazing area? Or.....? All a mystery. The Indians leave offerings on the rock such as quarters, bracelets, and a jawbone from a small animal of some kind. Another mystery. This land is full of mystery....