We lived a few hours north of Cahokia Mounds and drove the other side of the Mississippi River right past it numerous times on trips to Saint Louis, Missouri.
Why we never attempted the trip is any ones guess. No one really talked about it and so when we moved out west it was just one of those things we had missed.
My Mom was getting homesick for Michigan and her mother wasn’t doing well, and so we decided to take a side trip and see the Mounds at Cahokia on the way.
It was May 1999, a wet day without many other tourists, so we took our time at the Museum and enjoyed all it had to offer. The curators answered our questions as best they could and we bought more books and booklets than we should have and purchased a replica of the Birdman Tablet found here in a dig, to take home as a souvenir, (See the photo’s of it below, they are almost the size of a normal playing card). Then we headed out to walk the grounds and climb Monks Mound.
We made it a walking meditation, so we could feel rather that discuss. Mom’s health wasn’t very good those last years but she climbed as high as she could and let me take her camera up to the top so she would at least be able to see the sites on her film. She wanted me to get Old Man River from up there, it’s a mere 4 miles away, but the fog on the river was up, so the best I got was the industrial buildings over in St. Louis. You can see her sitting atop the first stairway in the above picture.
No matter, just being there was what she needed to feel renewed. She did love history and places.
I have since been back a couple more times with the rest of my family. Each time, I love to take the time to imagine what those builders thought as they walked this same ground.