Saturday, July 07, 2007

Somewhere in South Dakota

“I’ll get you an umbrella. Guess why you’ll need one.”

I was stumped for a moment. We’d pulled off the highway following a sighting of a large longhorn bullhead (later information would confirm it to be the size of one of the Mt. Rushmore heads) and discovered the piece to be the most sizeable artwork in what was billed as a “sculpture park.”

The sketchy grammar on hand scrawled signs tipped us off early on that this was an off-beat enterprise, but the quirky artist and the quiz-show format surprised even me—and I’ve even been called a quirky artist.

My Systems Analyst husband was thoroughly out of his comfort zone, so I had to handle the interaction unaided. I’m traditionally poor at guessing.

“I’ll get sunburned?” I respond gamely. This seemed sensible, as the evening sun loomed large across the open hillside field.

No. Guess again.

“I’ll look picturesque on the hillside?” This seemed a stretch, but, anything was possible at this point.

“Attack birds.”

Evidently some birds were nesting in his sculptures, and after visitors reported being hampered in their observation efforts, the artist implemented the umbrella-weaponry system.

Not far down the path of metal sculptures—which included dragons, winged toads, mythical creatures and the like interspersed with handmade signs bearing witticisms such as “…in order to be wise, one first must be mangled”—I spotted a little black and white songbird. This couldn’t be the attack bird that inspired the umbrella-warfare system.

I pressed on, keeping a wary eye on the alert for crows or large grackles reminiscent of the one I once appeared in the storage loft in my bathroom.

Whoosh—without warning the little black songbird and a small army of minions flew at our heads in a flurry of wings and feet and beaks.

We huddled under the umbrella as the birds continued their assault, crashing into the umbrella.

“This is the kind of place where you try to leave, but you can’t,” my husband predicted on the way toward the car. “The road will end, or will keep looping right back here.”

“This is going to give me nightmares,” my son agreed.

Settled in the back seat, my daughter announced: “This has been the highlight of my trip, and it probably will remain so for the next several days.”

A couple hundred yards down the exit path, we came to a complete stop as herd of cattle surrounded the van.


Jennifer said...

I love South Dakota.. lots of great land and animals.. I hope you see some buffalo.. I'm glad ya'll are having fun.. and the posts are great.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy and family,

It's been great reading about your trip! I can't wait to see what happens next on your journey. Keep the umbrella handy, and I hope you find the turkey. Of course, if it is truly with you, you will probably smell it soon!

Take care and God Bless!


Kayla McOink said...

Wowsers. I think that might give me nightmares. (Me was supposed to be italicized)
Love ya!


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