Friday, July 31, 2009

so long South Dakota

Today we spent the morning relaxing in our cabin, and getting a leisurely start to our day- another achingly beautiful day in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

We headed to the Crazy Horse monument, and it was an incredible experience.

The man responsible for it all was really quite a character. He was asked to sculpt this monument by the Lakota, and arrived in the Black Hills with $174 in his pocket. He lived in a canvas tent for the first 7 months, and in that time built a log cabin for himself to live in. He worked on the monument by himself for several years, eventually his wife and 10 children helped him.

I can't go into all of the details here, you really must go see the site yourself to be inspired by this amazing story. His wife, 83, still works every single day, and keeps things going. Seven of his ten children also work in the business, and the dreams and plans he had for this site will definitely be realized some day.

It is completely privately funded, they have twice turned down large amounts of government money, that would have allowed them to complete the work much faster. Just last week, a woman donated $5 million to the operation. An elder of the Lakota, who is on the board of the Crazy Horse organization, matches all donations made. Every purchase made in the gift shop, or the restaurant, or the gate admissions, helps to keep the work going. When it is completed, it will be the largest sculpture in the world, bigger than any skyscraper, or even the pyramids. You can get a small idea of the proportions, by finding the tiny excavator working in the photo above-taken by Charlie this morning. And it was all started with one man, and some hand tools. A man with an enormous vision, and the character to keep a dream alive.

Pretty darn inspiring. And a great way to end our trip to the Black Hills!
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