So begins a new look for our website and a personal journey. I have long been confused by the changing nature of patriotism in America. As a kid growing up, it was simple. Patriotism was love of one's country and devotion or service to it. One's country included its people, culture, history, biology, geology, geography and government. Service could include military service, but it could include most any effort to make America and your fellow Americans better. The flag is different. It is a symbol. Whether people burn it or wrap themselves in it, the flag is political. Patriotism, going back to the the dictionary definition, is about love not anger.
I wanted to step away from politics, hop in my truck and go for a drive to find things I love, simple things. Things that might not make any sense by themselves but when combined with hundreds of other textures of our country, they paint a picture or weave a tapestry of something really wonderful. Each week we will feature a new background texture for our website along with a bit of description. We hope you will follow along. We will keep an archive of all of our textures for review as our journey continues and our composition takes shape.
Graffiti is an Italian word meaning to scratch. People have been "scratching" public surfaces and annoying authorities since Roman times and before, all the way back to ancient Egypt. Our first texture is a column of softer sandstone precariously supporting a rather large Dakota sandstone concretion. The concretions were formed around 100 million years ago from a slurry of sand and limey cement. They are harder than the sandstone rock formations below so they can erode into the shape of a giant mushroom. Native Americans, pioneers including Kit Carson and John C. Fremont, and careless tourists with scratching devices in hand have marveled at this rock for centuries. However, the column is getting skinnier over time. Some future lawbreaker may get squashed carving his/her initials. It is best to view it and not touch it.
Mushroom Rock State Park is 20 miles South West of Salina, KS. It is on a dirt road which might be problematic after a good rain. There are rustic bathroom facilities. Dakota sandstone concretions are spread around the park with two in mushroom formation. The park is surrounded by farmland pasture for cattle. The drive from Salina is quite beautiful.