Gunfire and mysteries

Posted by Ken Campbell April 5, 2011 0 Comment 690 views

The prairie is a natural interpretation of an egg crate. Little mounds four, five, eight feet high, make up the surface of the inter-forest grassland, like a living mogul course. No one knows how they were formed: Prairie dogs? Seismic activity? Native earth sculpting? Glaciers?

Mima Mounds is an anomaly. The fact that we still don’t have a plausible explanation for why the place exists – or the fact that we have so many – is reason enough to see it as an interesting and special spot. It has an official designation as a natural area preserve, but there are facts on the ground that tend to downplay this fact. There is, for example, a paved trail that winds throughout the grassy dunes, a most obvious intrusion. The hardness of the asphalt against the velvet of the soil and the ground cover doesn’t look right, like a scar. Or an embarrassing tattoo.

But the most incongruous element to Mima Mounds, especially on a weekend afternoon, is the continuous sound of gunfire. There’s a gun club on the other side of the prairie, and the bursts of fire make a stroll through the mounds seem more like a busy afternoon in Tripoli. Single shots from a plethora of calibers form a strange, ongoing syncopation, while rapid rounds erupt like out-of-tune razors. Going by the sounds of the explosions, Thurston County would seem to be exceptionally well armed.

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