Curiosity bought me here, but something deeper, something more spiritual held me here. The long walk up the bluff left me in need of a brief rest, so I sat on the slope of one of the mounds. The entire Mississippi River valley lay before me. It was several miles wide at this point, but I could easily make out the bluffs to the east. Overhead a red tailed hawk wheeled across the sky.
I pressed my hands into the grass and felt the cool earth below; earth that held the bones, artifacts, and memory of an ancient people. The years peeled away and I found myself among those people, whose very survival was so dependant on the river valley that leaving it was almost unthinkable.
The warm summer sun shone brightly upon a small stand of cultivated crops. Here and there children, dressed in nothing more than a simple cloth, dug in the sand – mimicking their mothers’ search for clams. This time of year large carp crowded into the shallow backwater, which allowed for easy spearing. Rows of the big fish hung, drying in the sun.
During the summer months, life was easy. Food was abundant; there to be plucked from bushes or gathered from the river. Winter would be harsh; a cruel ballet of strength, endurance, stored or gathered food, and luck. Only the strong would survive. It was nature’s way
I couldn’t stay among them. To do so would to require a judgment of their way of life compared to mine. To adopt a life that appeared simpler than my own would be wrong. One day, someone in the future might look at my life and long for it — a simpler time.
Norm Rogers is the author of Underground Legacy, a Fellow of the National Speleological Society, and member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. You can visit his website at http://www.normrogers.8m.com/ To learn more about the Great River Road, visit http://www.onehundredandone.com