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Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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 4/9/06, from South Dakota Office of the Secretary, Dept of Agriculture


On the ranch, it is calving time. The early morning ride to check the cattle is the best part of each day, best because all the world is soaked in peace and life.

As my horse (Blackberry) and I leave the yard, I can hear the Canada geese calling to each other. They are offspring of geese planted years before. They have many places to nest undisturbed on the prairie where no one expects to find them.

The wild turkeys seem to be jabbering at each other about what they will do today. I hear them too above the constant chatter of smaller birds and the songs of robins and meadowlarks.

During that first hour of light, the wind is calm and the first warmth of sun mellows the morning crispness of the air. Later the wind will come up. By afternoon it may be howling, but for now even the wind is at peace with the earth.

Blackberry notices the cottontail rabbits darting around at the sound of her hooves. She pays them no mind, unless they take her by surprise.

My mind just sits there drinking from the fountain of early morning. Thoughts of office, and phones and politics and problems are not to be found. They are not even distant. They don't exist.

An Indian man once told me that his father believed that God is closer to the earth in the early morning. When he lay dying, his only request was to die in the early morning for that closeness. The now famous "star" on star quilts is said to be the morning star. Maybe that has something to do with the idea.

I am no expert on Indian beliefs. I don't know if that was unique to his tribe or is a general belief shared by all Native Americans, but I suspect it is common to all people of the land.

On that early morning ride, I too am one of the people of the land. If not religious, it is certainly a spiritual bond between the people and the land.

It is not nature worship, as some city folks believe. It is just being part of the land, by remaining quiet and in awe of creation. There is nothing else like it. I hold onto it.

When I return to my office job (as I occasionally must do), I take it with me. I recall those moments and take them out and look at them, like little nuggets of gold found without effort.

I suspect every farmer and rancher experiences a similar thing. They may not think about it, but it is there. If they too were tied to a desk and phone for a while, they would do more thinking about it.

It is not January 1st on the wall calendar, but it is the beginning of my year. It always is a time of great hope and excitement about good things to be accomplished.

Spring is to my year what early morning is to my day, my favorite part.

The only way to guarantee failure is to not try. Larry Gabriel




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