I am energized by the bustle and noise of cities. It starts my creative muse flowing and helps me to find new ideas for my art. But as exciting as it is, I often need the quiet of the country to bring the ideas to fruition.
Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day, one that had to be spent outside. So I hopped in the car and took off for the Amish country just to the east of me. The drive was pleasant and unhurried and I soon found myself surrounded by verdant green hills, dotted with sleek black cows. Already I could feel the pace of life slowing down. Just then I spotted a sign pointing the way to Serpent Mound, and without giving it any thought turned to follow the winding road leading to the plateau.
Being such a clear day the view from the top was breath-taking. Although several families were taking advantage of the Indian summer and visiting the site it was not crowded or noisy. As I walked the path around the serpent the wind rushing through the trees was loud yet oddly soothing. If you close your eyes you can almost feel the spirit that moves those ancient people to build this intriguing earthwork.
Stopping to chat with the volunteer guide, I found our conversation turing to other points of spirituality that have since become landmarks. I suppose it is necessary (and inevitable) that they get taken under the wing of an agency designed to preserve them for future generations. Without some regulation vandals would run rampant and they would soon be destroyed. Once such occurrence had happened just a few days before. Some group trying to “invoke” the spirits dug holes in the earthen serpent to plant the spirit candles they brought with them for their ceremony. Such foolishness sadly requires regulation. However, I have to wonder if by doing so are we chasing away the spirit/s that have resided there for so long? By putting boundaries and fences on it, restricting it are we also killing it? In our quest to find something spiritual are we driving it further from us?
Many of us would, given the choice, live in the city. Full of sights, sounds and excitement it is a thrilling place to be. But our souls need, crave, the spirit soothing places of which there are too few left. I would hope that in our need to preserve the place the heart is not ultimately destroyed.
As I drove home reflecting on my walk, I silently gave thanks to the early inhabitants of the area who left behind this legacy, lore and history. I also hoped that in chasing the spirit, civilization did not kill what it sought.