South Dakota: Before Sunrise in the Badlands

I woke up before sunrise this last morning in South Dakota. I needed to get on the road and get to the airport. As I packed my car the sunrise hinted at doing something spectacular.

Venus, the morning star, still hung bright in the sky. The sun lit the edge of the earth with the colors of fire. The dog, who adopted me on my first day here, came out and greeted me and then went off to the edge of the butte just under where Venus hung. The randy rooster was awake too. And, as I stood watching light eating into the darkness of night, the dog began to bark and the rooster began to crow. Then two groups of coyotes on either side of the river, just over the edge of the butte, let loose. Their yipping howls drowned out all other noises and reverberated through my soul. My soul sang with them. My Steinbeckian moment had come.

That speck in the upper right is Venus.

A last look at the wall of the Badlands.

Those aren't lights. That's the sun glaring off reflectors lighting my way back home.


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