one experience that never leaves my mind
was a family trip we took to Dickson Mounds
we had passed the signs on the roadway
several times the first time we lived in Illinois
one day we decided to stop in and see what it was about
i want to say it was about 1991 and possibly fall
from my memory of the countryside
but don’t hold me to that
will check our records later to be sure
driving down these country roads one could forget what year it was
and it was with these feelings
that we drove up to a museum in the middle of nowhere
a nice sized modern museum
we got out of the car and tried to get the kids excited
about pottery shards and arrowheads
we had no idea.
we entered the museum and started to walk around the exhibits
a voice was heard telling people
that if they wanted to see the big exhibit
to walk upstairs to a doorway and wait for the next viewing
we thought it was to a movie or something
we ignored the call.
thinking we had experienced all we wanted
we were about to leave
when we were asked if we had gone upstairs?
we said no
but were encouraged to go up and see
we decided OK
we had time
so we walked upstairs
and waited for the next viewing
they opened the doors it was very dark inside
but we followed the other people into the darkness
and peered down to see what they had here
not understanding beforehand what we were about to see
the sight almost knocked me over
way down below us
where the dim lighting was coming from for the room
open for all the world to view
were the bones of the ancients
just as they had been buried in this mound
In some cases buried on top of one another
several individuals deep.
but all seemingly buried in certain positions.
not all the same
not thrown into the grave
or so my memory tells me
we stood there looking down
unable to move.
recall the feeling of needing to run
flee this place
yet all we could do was stand there
and feel the wrongness.
as we left the building that day
the parking lot had become full of Native American’s
bused in to protest this mound opening to the public
we drove off in silence
back home, we heard on the news
that the museum was to be closed
we never returned to see it
but the memory is held nonetheless.