“Where is the rain?” Asked the parched and barren land.
“Where is the rain?” Asked the dried and dusty river bed.
“Where is the rain?” Asked the dead brush, the browning leaves of the trees, the once bright wild prairie flowers that now lay withered and dying, and the dried hard baked grassland. For they were all now hungering for the source of life.
“Where is the rain?” Asked the rotten carcasses and the bleached white bones of the dead animals that now littered the plains in ever increasing numbers.
“Where is the rain?” Asked the bright clear blue yonder.
“Where is the rain?” Asked the hot summer breeze as it passed in a cloud of dust.
“Who cares where the rain is?” Smiled the bright yellow disk of the sun as the force of his power wilted all below him.
“I care!” Cried Mother Earth. “For without the rain and its power to give life I, and all my children, will eventually perish and die.”

The sun had climbed slowly above the distant horizon in the clear blue morning sky. Even at this early stage in its path across the vast blue yonder, the air was already stifling hot and humid, the bright yellow disc itself struggled to find the strength to continue across its chosen path. The vast expanse of blue sky was without a blemish. Far below the Sun the land lay silent and still.
It seemed a tired land. The Sun had baked it hard. The heat taking all the moisture from the surface, from the river and streams, and from the distant mountains. The signs that dotted the landscape pointed to a once beautiful land. But those now living upon it, both animal and human, could not remember the last time when a cooling breeze had caressed their sweating bodies. Neither could they remember the last time when the rains had washed down from the mountain range far to the north, bringing with it both comfort and life to all that needed it, especially to the land itself.
Even the once mighty and fast flowing rivers, that bisected the land, had all become a mere trickle of their former glory. Blighted for so long, the lands on either side of these currents of life were devoid of any signs of new life. The old bodies of dead fish, which quickly rotted in the heat of the day, littered the hard baked riverbeds and showed the destiny of the dying fish around them. The white bleached bones of the land animals dotting their banks.
But not all was dead or still upon this land. A village of some 20 tipis, erected within a U bend on one such river, the Bighorn, was full of life. These were the tipis of a band of Oglala Lakota. Proof, if proof were needed, that life could survive even during these harshest of times.
The band considered this land their land, but not as in ownership, but held in sacred trust to be passed down from one generation to another. It held a special place in their hearts and was therefore considered sacred. The U bend in the river was their annual place to erect their Summer Camp.
Their survival under such extreme conditions was a testament both to their knowledge, skill, and respect for the land around them. The Great Spirit, on occasions, would listen to their prayers and send them the rain that was the life source to all living things. At other times, like now, he would withhold it from them. Even so, with the help and guidance of the Great Spirit they could, for a time, survive even the harshest of conditions.


Sometimes the Great Spirit sent mighty rivers flooding down from the mountains that would sweep away all before them. Other times the Great Spirit would not send the mountain waters and it would remain dry, but whatever the Great Spirit chose to do the Oglala Lakota still gave thanks to him.
The Lakota enjoyed the relationship they had with all the spirits that guided them throughout their lives. However the Great Spirit was one who they revered above all others. For earlier in their time upon the land he had given to them a special gift. The pony. Or sacred dog as the Lakota had come to call this four-legged animal that had given them both speed and mobility. This made them powerful and all conquering, and placed fear in the hearts of their enemy.
With the aid of the pony they now dominated the lands from which at an earlier time they had moved aside those who once lived upon the plains. This had mainly concerned their enemy the Crow. On foot they had conquered the Crow and with the aid of the pony kept the land as their own. The gift of the pony had also given them the added luxury of being able to search further than they could on foot for the mighty buffalo herds that migrated across this land.
The pony had also helped in the transportation of the food back to their villages. This fine animal had also made it easier to move the entire village rapidly when the occasion arose. Before the pony, the women and dogs had done all transportation. But a pony was a bigger animal and could pull far more than a mere dog and carry more than a woman. A warrior who took ponies from their enemies was therefore a man to be admired.
On this blistering hot morning, the large pony herd of the band growing weaker by the day, a young Oglala warrior moved away from the tipi village. He walked slowly across the dust filled riverbed to find a place that would offer him the opportunity to be able to pray without being disturbed by any of the women from the village out doing their daily chores. When he was sure he was far enough away from the village, and alone, he removed the loincloth from around his waist and let it drop to the dusty ground. He now stood naked upon the hard baked earth that was as red as his own skin.


The place chosen was special to White Cloud. For this spot had been the place where his father had brought him as a young boy. Together they had watched the vast buffalo herd come to quench their thirst early in the morning. They had sat beneath the shade of an old tree along the riverbank. They saw the buffalo kicking up a vast dust cloud beneath their powerful hooves, that seemed to block out the light of the powerful sun, as they continued on their migration across this land.
Father and son had sat beneath the shade of a tree throughout that day and long into the night watching silently the amazing sight unfolding before them. Sometime the land upon which they sat shook violently from the pounding of so many hooves.
Now White Cloud was shielded somewhat by the bare tree of his youth. He lowered himself to the ground and closed his eyes. He stayed like this for most of the morning, offering up his silent prayers to the Great Spirit. When the sun hung directly above his head, the heat now unbearable, trickles of sweat ran down his face and dried almost instantly the moment they were swallowed up by the dust upon which White Cloud lay.
White Cloud opened his eyes and in the haze of the sun saw a vision. He saw the banks of the river awash with fast flowing currents of water. From the big blue yonder came a torrent of rain that added to the already swollen river. The river made him think of the belly of a young woman when she was with child.
He then saw the Council of Elders come out from the village, dressed in their finest and painted for all to see, singing their praises and offering up their thanks for this gift of life. Some of the men from the village started to move their tipis further away from the river for they now feared their women and children would be washed away in the night. It was a wondrous sight and it made the heart of White Cloud soar high in the sky.
After offering his thanks to the four directions for this vision and the answer to his prayers he once more stood up and tied his loincloth around his waist. From this spot he looked around. He knew every tree, every bush, and every blade of grass that his eyes saw. Only the colours of all around him had changed. Now instead of being lush green, the grass tall and straight, the trees coated with thick foliage; they all appeared yellowish and brown, and lifeless. Scorched dry and scattered upon a wind that had long since passed. But he now knew that soon all this would change. The Great Spirit would once more send the great waters and all would be lush and full of life once more.

White Cloud knew that the Great Spirit would not fail them. His vision had been clear. This land that he loved more than anything else would continue on in the circle of life. And once more the Oglala Lakota would be here to witness it.
THE END




“Where is the rain?” Asked the parched and barren land.
“Where is the rain?” Asked the dried and dusty river bed.
“Where is the rain?” Asked the dead brush, the browning leaves of the trees, the once bright wild prairie flowers that now lay withered and dying, and the dried hard baked grassland. For they were all now hungering for the source of life.
“Where is the rain?” Asked the rotten carcasses and the bleached white bones of the dead animals that now littered the plains in ever increasing numbers.
“Where is the rain?” Asked the bright clear blue yonder.
“Where is the rain?” Asked the hot summer breeze as it passed in a cloud of dust.
“Who cares where the rain is?” Smiled the bright yellow disk of the sun as the force of his power wilted all below him.
“I care!” Cried Mother Earth. “For without the rain and its power to give life I, and all my children, will eventually perish and die.”

The sun had climbed slowly above the distant horizon in the clear blue morning sky. Even at this early stage in its path across the vast blue yonder, the air was already stifling hot and humid, the bright yellow disc itself struggled to find the strength to continue across its chosen path. The vast expanse of blue sky was without a blemish. Far below the Sun the land lay silent and still.
It seemed a tired land. The Sun had baked it hard. The heat taking all the moisture from the surface, from the river and streams, and from the distant mountains. The signs that dotted the landscape pointed to a once beautiful land. But those now living upon it, both animal and human, could not remember the last time when a cooling breeze had caressed their sweating bodies. Neither could they remember the last time when the rains had washed down from the mountain range far to the north, bringing with it both comfort and life to all that needed it, especially to the land itself.
Even the once mighty and fast flowing rivers, that bisected the land, had all become a mere trickle of their former glory. Blighted for so long, the lands on either side of these currents of life were devoid of any signs of new life. The old bodies of dead fish, which quickly rotted in the heat of the day, littered the hard baked riverbeds and showed the destiny of the dying fish around them. The white bleached bones of the land animals dotting their banks.
But not all was dead or still upon this land. A village of some 20 tipis, erected within a U bend on one such river, the Bighorn, was full of life. These were the tipis of a band of Oglala Lakota. Proof, if proof were needed, that life could survive even during these harshest of times.
The band considered this land their land, but not as in ownership, but held in sacred trust to be passed down from one generation to another. It held a special place in their hearts and was therefore considered sacred. The U bend in the river was their annual place to erect their Summer Camp.
Their survival under such extreme conditions was a testament both to their knowledge, skill, and respect for the land around them. The Great Spirit, on occasions, would list

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