lewis and clark map
The Corps of Discovery
Without question, my favorite history topic is that of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Part of the appeal to me is that it was a monumental undertaking that required Undaunted Courage and perseverance nearly beyond comprehension. I don’t know if odds-makers were betting on Meriweather Lewis and William Clark, but the odds of them returning after a successful trip from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back would have been monumentally slim. These men pulled and rowed a heavy keelboat up the Missouri, dragged dugout canoes around the Great Falls and endured great hardships and dangers at the hands of weather and unfriendly Indian tribes along the course of their roughly 8,000 mile journey. They were a heartier stock than I, that’s for sure.
The other aspect of the journey that speaks to me is the romantic vision of the country through which the Corps of Discovery travelled: un-dammed rivers teeming with fish, prairies filled with abundant game–an unspoiled landscape. Of course the bittersweet aspect of the Lewis and Clark expedition is that their success was largely responsible for the eventual westward expansion that ultimately led to the demise of all that was so pristine when they passed through on their journey.
And we proceeded on…
More than 200 years have passed since Lewis and Clark returned successfully from their epic journey. They may not have succeeded in finding a “direct & practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce with Asia”, but the expedition was successful in nearly countless other ways.
The goal of successfully getting an animated film produced is nothing like what the Corps of Discovery accomplished, and I dare not compare myself to Lewis and Clark. However I do find myself on a journey that is very much one of discovery, with daunting odds that will require determination and perseverance. Fortunately I don’t face physical danger from unfriendly opposition, and I can spend the forthcoming winter safely inside a warm home enjoying a balanced diet that does not include bitterroots.
It will require some luck and good fortune, but if Lewis and Clark could do it, so can Olive and Clark.