Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The original interpretation of Wind Cave (and some new and youthful renditions)

Out of the blue, our physical scientist at Timpanogos Cave informed me that Wind Cave has a new sign up at its entrance. I was not involved in this project. The sign is great! While Wind Cave has many intriguing stories from the annals of its geology and history, perhaps none of these have the emotional potency of the Lakota genesis. The Lakota people claim Wind Cave as their place of emergence, and that of the buffalo (bison). To them, the bison is the living spirit of Tatanka, the shaman who sacrificed himself so that the people could live. This makes every bison meal and every block of pemmican a sort of Eucharist for Native Americans. In the new sign, members of the five tribes affiliated with Wind Cave explain the sacred site in their own words:

Although I cannot match the power of their interpretation, I wish to share some murals, which I and our visiting youngsters created together at Wind Cave. Each of these pictures accorded with one of our lessons in the Adventures in Nature winter educational programs. The kids colored the mural as a sort of warm-up, before undertaking a series of hands-on activities about the day's theme. The (deliberately pixelated) picture is from our "Underground Treasures" event. It shows Rangers Amanda and Matthew introducing the youngsters to caving, before the kids split into smaller groups, conducted experiments about speleogenesis, tried caving techniques on a model cave (made of cardboard boxes!), and visited the real cave. And the bigger kids even surveyed and mapped parts of cave! I drew the giant size coloring book style murals with a sharpie, and the kids went wild on the coloring. (And in some cases, they added their own objects and characters to the scenes.) The kids ranged in ages from three to fifteen, and so we see some varied approaches to color. When I was three, I too was a natural abstract expressionist. The images here are a little less produced than the usual sketchbook and comics entries which appear on this blog, but hey, it's untrammeled like the imaginations of children....


NPS work is non-copyrighted.

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