Top Ten Stuff
One sweet night last night. An old woman who grew up here used to tell me that Siouxland has just ten glorious days a year--"and you better enjoy 'em." If she's not wrong, then we had one yesterday. Northwest winds carried dry (and cooler) air over this quarter of the plains in a fashion that had everyone smiling. Summer's dog days departed somewhere south, where they belong.
We took off for Spirit Mound, an old Lewis and Clark stop, where the Native people claimed little tiny humanoids, demonic things, lived atop an odd land formation--a tiny, miniature mountain. It was hot that day--as I remember the tale--so hot that their huge black Newfoundland, Seaman, got a little sick.
Not so last night--perfect weather, top-ten variety. We were mostly alone, just a few other older couples also walking out there to the top. The corn in the neighborhood looked pretty bad from the drought, but the beans are yellowing now, creating a little medley of color in the broad landscape. The Missouri River valley looms south, but otherwise, from the top of Spirit Mound, you can see for miles and miles. There's something about a sweet day in a place like that to steady the soul. No demonic humanoids either, just pilgrims.
We drove south to a place called Mulberry Point, where an overlook offers a very unusual view of the Missouri River. To say the river is wild at that point isn't totally true. The flow of the Missouri is controlled by the dams upstream; it can't flood like it once did, seasonally. But Mulberry Point still offers a view of ye olde Missouri, one that looks far more untamed than the river people see in more familiar crossings. It's braided, thin and rangy, and seemingly unspoiled. Even though it isn't uncontrolled, its wild looks are a reminder of what that river once was, years ago, untamed and gutsy, cutting a new channel wherever and whenever it wanted.
The river is an inspiration at Mulberry Point--it looks to be its own boss, even though it isn't anymore.
We were there at sunset, and my camera's battery was dead as a doornail. The last of the great photographers.
What a night. Out here in Siouxland, you only get ten of those per year. You better mark 'em. We did.