“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Jackson in Beaverhead County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)

A Soul-Searching Birthday

Questions about meaning, fulfillment & purpose

A Soul-Searching Birthday Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 12, 2018
1. A Soul-Searching Birthday Marker
Inscription.  Meriwether Lewis is hardly the only person ever to have found himself evaluating the meaning and purpose of his own life. But the words he wrote on the evening of August 18, 1805 - when camped about 35 miles southeast of where you stand now - have haunted historians and other readers for generations. The feelings Lewis experienced, the thoughts he expressed in his journal, are as universal as the natural processes that govern life on the landscape surrounding you.
Events the preceding week has presented an emotional rollercoaster. After several false starts, the Corps of Discovery finally has established positive relations with the Lemhi Shoshoni tribe. For months they has anticipated this moment. They had welcomed Sacajawea on the expedition largely because as a Shoshoni, she might make it easier for them to obtain horses from her tribe - and having horses was essential to their goal of crossing the Rockies before winter. After a long night of joyous celebration, many members of the Corps left with most of the Shoshoni, bound for the tribe's main camp and to explore routes for the next leg of their journey. Lewis found himself in a tranquil
A Soul-Searching Birthday Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 12, 2018
2. A Soul-Searching Birthday Marker
This marker is located along the fence-line, second from the right.
circumstance for the first time in days, and the comparative solitude - aptly on the occasion of his 31st birthday - sparked a mood to introspection and self-evaluation. Have you ever reflected on your life in a similar way?

"This day I completed my thirty first year ... I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little indeed, to further the happiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now soarly feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended, but since they are past and cannot be recalled, I dash from me the gloomy thought and resolved in the future, to redouble my excretions and to at least indeavour to promote those two primary objects of human existence, by giving them the aid of that portion of talents which nature and fortune have bestoed on me; or in the future, to live for mankind as I have heretofore lived for myself. ---" -- Meriwether Lewis, August 18, 1805

Meriwether Lewis died October 11, 1809, a little more than four years after writing his journal entry at Camp Fortunate. In his 36 years, Lewis had been a military leader, a trusted aide to President Thomas Jefferson, and one of the most experienced - and accomplished - white explorers in American history. He was also America's first great travel writer.
Erected by Montana State University (Bozeman), Bureau of Land Management, Montana Stockgrowers Association.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition marker series.
Location. 45° 19.8′ N, 113° 14.682′ W. Marker is in Jackson, Montana, in Beaverhead County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 287 near Big Lake Creek Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jackson MT 59736, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "Hot Spring Valley" (here, next to this marker); "The Carroll Ranch" (here, next to this marker); Naturally Sustained Productivity (a few steps from this marker); Undaunted Stewardship (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to Hamilton Ranch (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); "I now take my leave..." (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Way It Used To Be... Way Back (approx. 6.8 miles away).
More about this marker. The marker is located at the overlook at the end of a short path, southwest of Idaho State Highway 278.
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More. Search the internet for A Soul-Searching Birthday.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 4, 2018. This page originally submitted on October 4, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 42 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 4, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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