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Parting at Morning
By Robert Browning


Round the cape of a sudden came the sea,
And the sun looked over the mountain's rim:
And straight was a path of gold for him,
And the need of a world of men for me.

--------


We woke to a sight we hadn't seen in weeks...heavy cloud cover with ground fog! We drove in cool temperatures through South Dakota, passing roadside attractions like an 1880s town and a giant metal dinosaur. For lunch we stopped at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, the third time I've been to this dubious institution...a large stadium converted every summer into an attraction covered in tens of thousands of ears of Indian corn, arranged to illustrate South Dakota history, embellished with wheat and grain sheaves.

After a brief walk through the auditorium where we bought popcorn-on-the-cob to take home, we picnicked in the shade of the little park across the street and had ice cream. Then we drove into Minnesota, which is much greener than South Dakota outside the mountains; we drove by fields and fields of corn and other crops as well as many of the lakes for which the state is known. We are staying in Albert Lea, in a hotel with a nice pool and huge suites, where we made macaroni and cheese in the microwave for dinner and watched part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon on TNN ("The Game," which we warned our kids was a metaphor for too much GameCube!).

Tomorrow: Chicago, our onetime home. Sunday: camping near Toledo. New icon: the legend of the bear that chased Native Americans up a mountain and thus created the gouges in the side of Devil's Tower. More photos: on my web page here, terribly cropped and compressed because I don't have Photoshop on the laptop, just Microsoft editing software, but it'll give you a better idea of how Devil's Tower looks from other angles and what our relatives look like!


The Pride of Mitchell, South Dakota
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