What is Life? It is a flash of a firefly in the night. It is a breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is as the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. Crowfoot (c.1830-1890), chief of the Blackfoot Indians
The Native Indians were deeply in touch with nature, and for good reason. Their lives were intertwined physically and spiritually, and they depended on the land for their survival. In the early days of the Great Plains the Indians set regular fires to bring forth new shoots and attract the bison and grazing herds. It was a way of life, and together they helped to maintain over 700 million acres of native grasses stretching from Tennessee to the steps of the Rockies.
A glimpse into a life that once was
Today, less than 1% of these grasses remain, the prairies destroyed by early settlers, bison hunting (to near extinction in the 1890′s) and encroachment of the forest. Similar to the north, many Southern states are working on conservation and reintroduction of native grasses, and we got a view of that effort at the Elk and Bison Range in Land Between the Lakes, KY.
It’s a small glimpse into a life that once was. Bison ranging on the prairie, grasses swaying and bursting with life, and a peek into the past. Worth the trip indeed.
A mint julep is not a product of a formula. It is a ceremony and must be performed by a gentleman possessing a true sense of the artistic; a deep reverence for the ingredients and a proper appreciation of the occasion.
Lt. Simon Bolivar Buckner, 1937
Just a touch of fall
Ahhh, Kentucky….land of bourbon and BBQ, fried chicken and the venerable Kentucky Derby. I feel a sudden impulse to wear large, floppy hats and sip Mint Juleps while giving out practical southern advice. After all, with our passing out of Illinois we’ve now officially entered the South and, as everyone knows, things are different here. A certain sense of ceremony and history about the place, even when it comes to drinking, as Lt Buckner so eloquently explained.
Polly poses in the evening sun
With our entrance into this new phase of our travels we also feel a change in the air. The very first stirrings of fall, a subtle changing of colors and a sniff of cooler nights. We drop our jacks at Kentucky Lake and admire the view. Instantly we decide to stay longer than planned to absorb the whole thing fully. After all, everyone takes their fine time in the South and, as they say down here, if something just dills your pickle, it should be worth stickin’ around for.
Kentucky Lake..worth a few more days indeed!