Friday, June 22, 2007

Corps of Discovery

I've been watching Ken Burns' documentary of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. This is a story that has fascinated me for many years, and I've read countless books about it from all different angles: biographies of Lewis and Clark, biographies of Sacajawea and other Native Americans connected with the journey, and several historical fiction accounts.

I love the courage and abandon it took to make this trip. I love the perseverance, the vision, the curiosity. I love the thought of being the "first" see or do things, the opportunity to name places, to preserve the pristine beauty of what they were seeing in words (journals) and picture (drawings).

I love the adventure and the romance of it. And yet the truth of it is that it was hardly an easy, clean, or comfortable journey. And there was probably precious little romance to it either. One of my favorite accounts describes in detail the dirty, itchy, buggy, hungry truth of the experience.

I've always loved to read books about the westward exploration. I love to read about Native Americans, too. I tend to go on subject jags...reading everything I can get my hands on about a particular subject or person. This is one that you could read and study for years and never come to the end of the interesting material about it.

What an amazing journey into an amazing country!


La Tea Dah said...

Oh, this post interests me so much! I live less than a mile from the Snake River and walk at a nearby park where Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea, and the corp camped on their journey. Visiting historic markers that tell of what they did and their exploring their "camp" at Fort Clatsop is always interesting to me. Sacagawea State Park is just across the river, named in honor of a brave woman. These are people I grew up with (errr, their stories at least). They are a part of the history that is woven into our local history. Great stories and interesting places to visit! I'll have to check out the books you suggest. I've read a few others --- and learned much from a course in Pacific Northwest History at the university about these brave and adventurous explorers. Thanks for the post.

Rondi said...

I'd so love to come see all that. How lucky you are!