Whether or not Meriwether Lewis’s spirit rests, his mortal remains form the dust of the Natchez Trace. His energy lives in trees and grass, dirt and animals that inhabit the place around his grave.
Natchez Trace Parkway milepost 385.9
is alive with specks of Merry.
I’ve probably breathed a few bits of him, given how many times I’ve visited the place. The Old Trace hugs a clearing, now a hiking trail one can explore for more than a mile. Anyone can recreate his path to the site of his demise, explore the replica stand where he spent his last night, and chat with the engaging ranger stationed there on weekends.
Intrepid souls can even walk over the stone threshold he touched. It’s still there, a haunting rectangle from another time. If only we could unlock its secrets, replay its recorded layers. Maybe it would tell us what really happened to Meriwether Lewis on October 11, 1809.
But when I visit,
I always spend most of my time with him.
His grave is a beacon, its stone a homing device to my heart. I stand in his cemetery beneath a grand tree that surely contains his molecules and atoms and cells, and I wonder if he hears me through the canopy of leaves. Ancient rock. Falling water. And the caw of a crow.
The Meriwether Lewis Site is operated by the National Park Service. It is open every day, sunrise to sunset. Because of funding cuts, the ranger station is only open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and for special events until further notice. For more information, visit the National Park Service site HERE.