According to my dad, legend has it the island got the name from the pioneer boatmen, who on their trips up the river in the Spring, would stop on the island and plant a crop. On their trip down river they would harvest the crop.
When Big Bend Dam was being constructed on the Missouri River, there was protest to the flooding of the island, but to no avail.
It was as if God drop the gem into the muddy waters of the Missouri in compassion for the weary traveler.
He put his trees and grasses there for shade against the burning sun, carpet for the weary feet. He marked a line and forbade the hungry river to advance beyond.
His creatures came as to a haven: the deer with fawn, and the winged song-makers of rare and exotic breeds. A sanctuary, a rest haven, long in building, centuries of molding went into its design as God moved with a patience and compassion to preserve for man and his minions the gem He dropped into his river.
But man was busy and obsessed with thoughts of power, status – and impatient: Move the river! Change the river! Level that hill! Fill that valley! Uproot the trees! Scrape off the green carpet! They cut down God’s trees replacing them with little man trees and they said: “we’ll give you compensation.” Compensation? How do you compensate for what God builded in centuries of patient toil? What is your price for a bird on the wing, or a song from a shady treetop? Give me your valuation of God’s trees – the tangled brush, sweet with moss, the crest of a hill or the undulating sweep of a green valley peopled with God’s flowers! Give me your value!
And as I sit and watch the setting sun glorify the western horizon, a sadness of old remembering of God’s gem of the Missouri creeps over me as I look down upon the dross you gave me to replace it.
By Lloyd Jorgenson, Larry’s dad
I wish when I look at the City
its hurry and flurry and noise,
its racing cars and cocktail bars
its women like painted toys
I wish when I look at the tired faces
in the rush of the subway crowd
at people who are tired of life and living
where even prayers are hurried and loud
I wish I could stand astride like a giant
with a foot in the street and one in the next,
and shout, with a big giant’s voice, “Hush!”
still them, and ask, “What’s the rush?”
by Lloyd Jorgenson, Larry’s dad
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name
-William Shakespeare (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
join without command.
Pebbles cleansed and with purpose
shine beneath water glistening
bathed by sunlight
filtered by arrayed branches.
Sentinel flowers speak
restoring my marrow
swaying my soul.
a spirit remains.
prayer softly spoken seeks oneness
I will be still
please let me stay.
BEE AND CALF
Today, on my way in this busy world, I stopped to hear the bawl of the calf whose mother grazes in springtime speak to my inner self as a sound of almost silence, especially when the noise of man is compared, and the bawling of the calf and the buzz of the bee in a wild flower and sage gift to me a thankful heart not so easily arising in my other world; but I must not dally too long here, for I have people to see, commissions to make and places to go, but I heard the bee and the calf today, and they have refreshed my spirit.
In a child’s mind
I hope to be again
with shrouds of stars
sun bright days
grace and beauty
fascination with all seen
the moment conquering that
Mollusks, crustaceans, insect larva abandoning
polluted, greenish rot of once good still receives from the
tree the small, showy, bobbing Bufflehead
dressed mostly white, little black, not intruding
as he squeals and growls to his mate while going about
creation, its burned-out voice beseeching, asking, gasping-
perhaps for not long.
I surmise we should leave this goal on the table of hope and trust it will find its way to the shining light of acceptance now concealed by the arbitrary darkness of personal bias.
-Larry Jorgenson, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Photos taken by me from my home cross the street from the National Elk Refuge where the creek passes and bald eagles often search for food.
-Larry Jorgenson, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Majestic, stately, not ignoble
Tatanka lies waiting
eye open skyward
side stiff, not rising.
Wolves hold forth
eagles feast, coyotes sneak.
Circle complete. Sun sets in honor.
Man’s cruel aim
supplants bestial hunger
entrails of hope reduce to fruits of greed
disquiet selfishness reins
A child weeps.
My heart is pierced, my spirit slain
I am diminished, dishonor and shame befall me
hope fades beyond tomorrow
Sun sets without peace.
Sky touches the prairie level with my eye
that I am permitted to see so far I am grateful.
I am complete.
Prairie indulges its own
loneliness seems far away
the trail narrowing and straight
invites me with assurance of favor.
Wind lifts the spirit
calls to the strong
consoles the weak.
And hawk is free.
A marsh follows the rain
dew drops cling to the wild rose
and glisten in the rays of fading day.
My soul is calmed.
Meadowlark serenades, few sounds are many
winds still out of respect
the sun falls from the table of my place
lullaby ends. Silence embraces the dark.