A Life Unveiled

John Burroughs

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A Life Unveiled - John Burroughs

Excerpt from A Life Unveiled: By a Child of the Drumlins

I fancy that this "Child of the Drumlins" did not know she was living amid drumlins when she passed her youth there. She knew them only as the long, smooth, landscape, hills that were scattered over her native landscape, upon which she saw cattle grazing and grain ripening, and upon which she roamed and played in the freedom of childhood.

These curious-looking hills are found in certain parts of New England, and in a large section of the central and western parts of New York state. They would suggest artificial mounds were they not so large as to preclude all idea of their being the work of man. They were indeed made, but not by human hands. They are the work of the great continental ice-sheet which tens of thousands of years ago crept slowly over a large part of the Northern hemisphere, giving to the landscape, among many other strange new features, these long, low, rounded hills, called by the geologists drumlins, amid which the "Child" passed her early life. Carpeted with grass and often dotted with trees, these peaceful pastoral elevations are seldom more than a quarter of a mile long, and perhaps a hundred feet high. Their trend is in one direction, from northeast to southwest - the general course the ice-flood took. They are simply huge heaps of clay and water-worn boulders shovelled together by the gods of the Ice Age, though just how it all came about the geologists are not clear. But there they stand, making a marked feature in the landscape.

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