This land changes you if you let it…
There is no place to hide here
from yourself and what you fear.
The meadowlark will break your heart
the magpie steal your breakfast
and once you’ve seen the buffalo graze on Sage Creek they will rumble through your dreams forever.
Diane Weddington in Badlands III
Barrenness incarnate, given this tortured body
By way of instruction from a literal minded maker
in some kind of love With gorgeous desolation.
Evan Harris in Badlands Near and Far
The scorched earth from wildfires along the highway in Montana is nothing compared to the utter desolation of the Badlands only a few miles north of where our son teaches in South Dakota. It is disorienting to see rolling grassland turning to alkali and stark rock tables and spires. There is no where to hide from the brutal transformation.
It seems hopelessness may be all that thrives in this loneliest of places where wind chews at the rocks. But there is toughness and remarkable color and diversity too. Hope cannot die where the sunrise and sunset create a portrait of paradise for a few brief minutes twice each day.
It is a promise that even the barren can bear fruit.