The storm came in hard and fast,
Like nothing anyone remembers from the past.
First came the rain, so cold and wet,
At this point, nobody would fret.
Then came lots of snow,
And the wind began to blow.
The rancher began to pace,
A look of worry crept to his face.
“How are my animals out in this mess?”
It was his only concern that he cared to confess.
Those animals help to pay the bills,
They are fending for themselves out in those hills.
But his concern was far more than for money or such,
He cared for those critters so very, very much.
He shed blood, sweat and tears,
For them over the years.
They were all partners and relied on that trust,
They needed each other, which is why he cussed.
“Damn you, Mother Nature, and the fits that you throw,
The hand that you’ve dealt us is a might low blow!”
As the storm passed, the rancher did look,
At what he saw, oh, how he shook.
The dead and the dying were all that was seen,
The few survivors were gaunt and lean.
The losses were huge, far above his worst fears,
Soon began more discovery and then came the tears.
Sorrow came next and soon disbelief,
Followed by regret and undeniable grief.
How will they recover many do ask,
It’s what ranchers do, they tend to their task.
They work hard day and night,
And no matter what, they don’t give up the fight.
But the good times outweigh the bad,
So we keep that in mind for better times had.
Things like this are very hard to take,
So many lives lost are hard to forsake.
Just know that this too shall soon be in the past,
Ranchers are a tough bunch, which is why they last.
Prayers are free; there is no cost,
So let’s bow our heads and remember all that’s been lost.
Let’s pray for better days and for the heaviness of heart,
Let’s pray for strength and for another start.
— Authored by Cheyenne Glade Wilson, regarding the catastrophic October snowstorm that hit South Dakota and left thousands of cattle dead. Cheyenne is a 1991 Terry High School graduate. She currently lives in Oglala, S.D. This poem appeared in the October 12, 2013 issue of Tri-State Livestock News.
Published November 27, 2013