In August 1986, I encountered a landscape that was impressed on my memory as indelibly as the shapes were impressed on the earth. It was an extensive procession of bears accompanied by a scattering of birds.
Lush with vegetation and awash with sunlight, the sounds of the Mississippi River nearby lulled me into a sense of the timelessness of the place. It was more than a final resting spot. The bears and birds and cones and lines were memorials to the dead.
I was there for less than an hour, but I understood in that short time the essence of the national monument. It was not a product of this century; it was the creation of the first in habitants. "Effigy Mounds National Monument" was simply a political affirmation of their successors' commitment to protect the earthen bears as they continued their perpetual march.
Last Updated: 08-Oct-2003