Saturday, 3 July 2010
We were travelling through the badlands. I was travelling through my mind: visions of bleak red landscapes inhabited by bronzed Ogala, some in buckskin and beads, their chiefs resplendent in long feathered head-dresses. In a squint, tiny men in blue galloped on horse-back, sabres drawn and bugles sounding, lost in ochre canyons and dwarfed by giant bluffs: The mental bric-a-brac of a very small child. (scroll down to blood red skies)
The reality was just, well….empty; hills and canyons a glare of gold beneath an unrelenting sun. We took photographs, walked some way in a narrow gulley, realised how easy one could become quickly and hideously lost in the complex twists and turns or ancient rock, how quiet it was, how dry.
We travelled a bit farther on and I walked on prairie, pushing through grass. It was pale green and wiry, and stretched forever. I was here – in the west – the dream of a very small boy come true and yet, somehow it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t 1850. . . or 1700. I was trapped in a twentieth century time-line and there was nothing I could do about it, except day-dream and write.