Seip Mound is a very large oblong burial mound in central Ohio, with dimensions of 240’ by 160’ by 30‘ high. It used to be in the center of a large earthworks complex which, like many, suffered the fate of being damaged after many decades of agricultural use. It is the third largest complex among the “Hopewell” culture people. (I put “Hopewell” in quotation marks because I want to reiterate that Hopewell is not the name of a tribe or nation or group of people but is simply the name of the white man who owned the land at the time of one of the excavations .)
When I visited this mound, it was rather early in the morning. There was only one other car in the small parking area. I walked down the longish drive toward the large mound in the distance. As I walked, I was struck by the wildflowers in the meadow to my left. This mound is in a rural area with many, many farms and cultivated fields, so to find a meadow that was untampered with felt like such a blessing to this nature-lover.
I read the plaque as I approached the mound. It was indeed a burial mound. In fact, 129 people had been buried there. I had brought a rattle with me that had once been gifted to me by a friend. I began to walk around this large mound, clockwise (sunwise), shaking the rattle and offering my blessings to the people buried there. I circumnavigated the mound four times in total, each time offering more prayers and blessings–not only to those who were buried there, but also to those who had performed the burial rites and those who had built the mound.
Afterwards, I sat for a while in the shade of a large tree. Bless that tree! In fact, bless all the trees that provide shade and a smidge of coolness during these intensely hot summer days.
After that, still not ready to leave, I noticed a mown trail in the midst of the meadow that I now realized surrounded the mound. I eventually realized that the entire area that had once been enclosed with a two-mile-long earthen wall was now protected, even though the former circles and square were no longer in their original form. If my math is correct, surrounding me were 1280 blessed acres of meadows.
I walked and walked on this path that led me in a circuitous route through a very large meadow filled with wildflowers and tall grasses and vines. Birds and butterflies and occasional bees were clearly in their element. It filled me with so much joy! I felt so grateful that in the process of preserving this sacred place of antiquity, they were also, simultaneously, preserving nature. And not just the very cultured, manicured, and immaculate gardens and lawns that pass for nature nowadays, but the wild profusion of nature that provides lots of habitat and food for the creatures of our Earth.
Thoreau was right, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.”