The Forgotten Past
Most Americans have heard of Jessie James, Wyatt Earp, or Brigham Young; these peoples homes’ and belongings have somewhat been preserved through time. True, there are several other historical figures that have made a large enough impact to have found their way into the history books or museums, however, we seem to have trampled upon our founders’ greatest achievements.
Lewis and Clark, for instance, made a truly historic journey from the eastern United States through largely undiscovered and untamed lands (at least as far as Europeans were concerned) until reaching the mouth of the Columbia River that separates what is now Oregon and Washington. Yes their trek was well documented, true museums across the Pacific Northwest hold many of the artifacts from their journey. But much has been lost of the trek that could have been invaluable.
Because of their bravery towns sprouted all along the Lewis and Clark trail. These men’s efforts eventually led to American expansion. Mining towns and farm towns exploded upon the scene; trade routes both overland and by sea made civilized life possible. Then came our great mistake. The twentieth century saw vast growth and progression and America lost its way as well as where it came from.
From Dust to Dust
As the twentieth century powered on progression lost its purpose and we found ourselves determined to progress for the sake of progress. From this we gained freeways, huge sprawling cities, and less and less room for the past. What was once a path hand carved by a relatively small group of explorers became less important than the newest resort. The towns our ancestors built by hand from the ground up impeded our progress and the building of super centers and malls. The wild life that kept our families, and countless Native Americans fed became a nuisance.
Now the Lewis and Clark trail has become a spotty, paved walking path wide enough for just two adults to walk side by side. The innovative mining, farming, and trading towns of our predecessors have been either dozed over or left to rot. Many of these towns that used to house hundreds or thousands have only one or two buildings remaining. The hallowed ground where our ancestors were laid to rest now hold unmarked graves of those long forgotten.
A Perspective Lost
Within the fallen and dilapidated buildings treasures of the past may still be found. Though few attempt to track the priceless artifacts. Deep within the woods on roads long since overgrown the few set out to remember. They go to the old ghost towns in search of history long forgotten; usually they find far more than expected.
With metal detectors and shovels they sometimes unearth true treasure. Gold, and coin from the past. They sleep outside under clear night skies and know what it was like to try to survive. They rise with the sun, with work to be done; these lone few find documents retelling the life of the past. Within the paper and rotted wood walls these few gain a perspective the many have long since lost.
The treasures they sought are worthless compared to the perspective they got. These old run down towns are more home than they have ever known; with heavy hearts they pack up, and begin to leave armed with knowledge long since forgot.