I have been to the Palo Duro canyon area of Texas a couple of times. You should read up on the history that happened there and then take a little trip through that history. The last time I was there was to see an outdoor musical-drama called "Soul of the West," about some of the people who lived and died around Amarillo. While I was there, I listened to the stories,myths and legends about the canyon. I also experienced a thunderstorm from the bottom of the canyon. Lightening was dancing around the rim and thunder was rolling through the valley. When I got home, this came to mind:
I came late to Palo Duro;
To understand its place in the history of the cowboy,
the Comanche and the chase toward some destiny;
toward the setting sun to seize some opportunity
with clenched fist and with gun.
I came late to Palo Duro
and the ghosts who linger where the Native People made their homes
till blue coat trumpets blared.
The Comanche fought for freedom here;
fought white man’s greed and lust for everything that wasn’t his.
Their dreams are now the dust that blows through Palo Duro
coating mesquite trees and me till rinsing rain removed the stain.
I thought then I could see their spirits dance
in lightening bolts along the canyon rim,
drums thundering off jagged walls, songs echoing within.
Most say, in Palo Duro it’s just the Texas breeze
that bends the brush and branches.
Cause no one really sees Ghost Dancers in the valley
or hears the warrior’s song.
But they tend to feel uneasy when night time’s coming on.
I came late to Palo Duro; to walk in history’s tracks
and marvel at the colors, the crevices and cracks
where smoke from ancient fires carried Native prayers aloft.
Wind blowing through the canyon, be it brisk or be it soft
cannot explain the way I feel or the voice I hear within.
“Tread lightly in this canyon. You are…where we have been.”
Jeff Hildebrandt © 2007