Thursday, May 10, 2007

Why, Oh Why, Wyoming?

There is a theory for everything. Usually there is more than one. There may be a religious theory, a scientific theory, a science fiction theory…and then there’s folklore.

President Teddy Roosevelt set aside the so called Devil’s Tower as the nations first NATURAL monument in 1906. I have no idea and no theory, personally, on how it got the name of Devil’s Tower that it carries today---and I don’t plan to offer one; which is good for me ‘cause getting into religion at this hour of the night doesn’t suit my plan. But I would like to talk about the other three types of theories that attempt to explain the creation of this colossal rock right smack dab in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming.

First lets take a look at the rock itself. If you’re new to the blog, please understand that clicking on any picture will blow it up considerably. You can use your back arrow to return to the blog from the enlargement. I know- I keep repeating this feature, but we seem to be drawing new friends and readers all the time, and I’d like them to have the benefit of my technological wizardry. (Can anyone help me get my tongue out of my cheek?)

If you’ve never been to Wyoming, but do think you recognize the Tower, it’s probably because you are a sci-fi fan and just happen to love Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It seems that in that flick, the government was secretly sending out signals to aliens in the form of intergalactic music that was boom boxed out of the tower unbeknownst to all, who also found themselves mysteriously linked and drawn to the Tower. As it turned out, the inside of the Tower was set to receive the alien space ship and all ended well as the lovable and loving aliens landed and did their thing. So there’s theory one: The Tower was built by the government to communicate with beings from outer space. It’s a bit far fetched. After all, much of what the government plans gets screwed up along the way, and this actually worked!

Now for straight science. Millions of years ago, there was an enormous volcano on this site. There is evidence to this that I have seen with my own eyes and touched with my own hands, so perhaps this is the workable theory. After many centuries of erosion caused by water and weather, the outside shell of the volcano fell away to nothing and only the hardened material in the cone of the volcano remained to form the Tower. It’s believable, don’t you think? But like most science it raises more questions than it answers; after all, that’s the nature of the scientific method. Where is the outside of the volcano? Where do you see enough water to make this happen? Just how bad is the weather in Wyoming anyhow? And on and on…Plausible, but a bit matter of “factly” boring for my taste.

Then there is the Indian folklore. It tells the story in terms we can understand for the most part- in terms of the land and sky and the animals and the children and the power of the almighty forces that be. Exaggerated a bit perhaps, but I’m OK with that. What do you think?

One day, an Indian tribe was camped on the banks of the mighty river. Seven young girls were playing not too far from the camp. The region was known for its very large bears and one of them began to chase the girls. They tried to run back to their village, but the bear was gaining on them and just about to catch them. The girls sought refuge on a rock that was no more than three feet high, and they began to pray to the rock, saying,
“Rock, take pity on us; Rock, please save us.”
The rock heard the pleas of the young girls and began to elongate itself, raising them up and pushing them higher and higher out of the reach of the bear. The bear, angered by this big magic, jumped and clawed at the rock until he broke his claws and fell to the ground.
The bear continued to jump and claw at the rock until the girls were pushed into the safety of the big sky, where to this day they are found in a group of seven little stars (the Pleiads). The marks of the bear’s claws are evident in the sides of the Tower to this very day.

So magical is the appearance of the Tower that it really is not all that hard to accept the legend as fact. But have a good look at the pictures, and then decide for yourself.

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