The View from Atop the Badlands (and 1,500 Entries)


Call it “South Dakota Gothic”. Photo taken by my son, age 14 at the time and too happy to stay off-camera whenever we’d let him.

Dateline: July 2009. Our road trip east across the length of South Dakota took us to Badlands National Park, which is end-to-end entirely made of geology and panoramas and tourist taking turns whispering, “Whoa.” The above photo from that particular road-trip collection is one of several I’ve never shared online before now. The wide, wondrous view from atop one of the Badlands’ many peaks has come to mind more than once today, least of which was a late showing of Logan in which Our Heroes take their own road trip up through the Dakotas and enjoy a scene in these familiar surroundings. To be honest, said scene was set in North Dakota, not South, but the coloration, texture, and height are identical. And in our case we saw a lot less bleeding. Otherwise, close enough.

This key picturesque memory is also a nice token of decoration on the occasion of Midlife Crisis Crossover’s 1500th post. In the grand tradition of comic books and The Simpsons, every 100 entries we like to take a moment to celebrate our stubborn refusal to quit, our persistence in storytelling even in the face of irrelevance, our running out of only a few ideas but not all the ideas, and our ongoing heartbeats and breathing in general. Those 1500 snapshots of life and its trimmings have been an interesting way to spend nearly five years of internet time and counting.

In some ways these 1500 essays, photo galleries, travelogs, thinkpieces, Top 10 lists, convention reports, movie reviews, recaps, parodies, live-tweet sessions, life lessons, screeds, tirades, manifestos, and self-dissections are like the Badlands. A gradual accumulation of sediment, dirt, and other raw materials have assumed the broad shape of a unique platform upon which I can stand tall, look around me in all directions, find both wonder and amazement at exactly how all this came to be, and hope that a massive earthquake — whether physical or metaphorical — doesn’t shatter the foundation and bring it all crumbling to the ground with me buried underneath in tears and solitary confinement. Also, on intensely bad-weather days I can notice how there’s virtually no one else around and I have the place all to myself, which would seem like a tremendous waste of resources if I didn’t have someone to share it with standing right next to me. God’s Creation can beat up my creation, but I do the best I can with what I’ve been entrusted, whether it’s for a visiting audience of many or a standing ovation of one.

Obviously I owe Anne my endless thanks forever and beyond, but thanks is also owed to You, The Viewers at Home, whose participation and encouragement, from the smallest Like to the longest novella-length comment, gives me reasons to continue building things here using the materials mined from our experiences and my aging brain. It goes without saying that I can’t quit now because, if nothing else, I still have several years’ worth of travel stories to remaster and add here to the growing MCC road trip library, including that 2009 South Dakota trip.

Writing is also a solid way to stay engaged and occupied so I’m not just roaming the streets looking for trouble…or worse, going full-on hermit and hiding away from the rest of the world. My plan is to keep this site going for as long as I have the strength and incentive to keep emerging from the shadows, sallying forth into the sunlight, climbing those peaks, and doing something on top of them that hopefully looks cool and/or impresses my wife.

One response

  1. Pingback: Atop: Spring | What's (in) the picture?

What do you, The Viewers at Home, think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: