The old bull stood defiantly on the rock outcrop as he looked across the valley below; his thoughts were on the eight foot fence the government had built around his 'Wildlife Santuary." Where once tens of thousands of his ancestors had roamed, he could just stand and tremble; his spirit crying out in pain at what the years in captivity had wrought. He stood there thinking deeply on what man had done to Mother Earth.

Two hundred year ago the bulls of his herd fought for the leadership of the migratory mass of bison who roamed from Texas to Canada, from Illinois to Utah; but those places didn't even exist during the grand time of the buffalo. First came the people, they danced sacred dances for him; he in turn met their needs of food and clothing, warm robes for the cold winter. Life was in balance then. His little brother the wolf and his sister the fox are almost all gone now too.

But within fifty years pale strangers came to the lands of the people, the bison, the wolf and the bear. At first it was just a wagon or two of the strange people, they were seeking trade, a simple place to live among the people. Their needs were not much, but their ways were strange; they tore up the fine grasses of the plains which Mother Earth had provided for all to share and in it's place planted vegetables they would not share with the deer, the antelope or the bison. They even shot the wise raven as it came to share in the new seeds for his family. He began to kill the shrinking herd of buffalo; at first he only hauled off their hides; then finally he came in large wagons and gathered even their bones to take back to his cities to the east.

The people told of a great war in the east between two tribes of these strange pale creatures. And following that war the pale riders brought a new creature to live in the place once owned by the buffalo, while it looked like a sickly buffalo, it was called cattle. And these new immigrants would not share the plains with anyone; they fought the people and they fought the ones of their kind too. They called each other names like farmer, rancher, cattleman, sod buster, and they fought over the land that was never theirs.

These strange men mutated over the years, they raised their families on the land and ran cattle and horses on small patches of land called family farms in their language. Mother Earth cried as all the creatures that once were plentiful in the land died out; the once great herds of buffalo were no more and the people were forced to live on a small area called a reservation.

Finally came the worst of creatures, they were neither these pale strangers nor the peoples of Mother Earth. They worshiped neither the strange God of the pale ones or Mother Earth of the people; they simply worshiped a thing called money. They bought or stole all the family farms, turning them into a new village called a corporate farm. Bringing in huge machines they ripped the soul from Mother Earth, they diverted the waters, they planted larger and larger crops taking all the prairie away from all creatures large and small.

They built cities in which to hold all their wealth, no longer living in harmony on the ground. Their machines needed a black liquid they took from the earth; they built large filthy plants to refine this liquid and the factories spewed out fumes and smoke poisoning all of the creatures large and small. The once great buffalo was reduced to zoos or private ranches; the wolf was hunted from the land. The waters were stolen and transported to the deserts to the west so these strange people could play in the sun.

And this, these strange pale people called progress.

© 2004-2010 by David L. Griffith ~ The PalletMaster

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