News from the Secretary By Larry Gabriel Are you in the circle?
It is almost that time of year when you can see a cowboy and his grandson riding out to "check the cows" in one of the rolling pastures of West
River South Dakota.
It is a memorable sight to see a horse and rider striding across the green hillsides with a boy and pony bouncing around them. It's even better to listen to them.
"Grandpa, are you going to live forever?"
"Sure I am. Why do you ask?"
"Well, I was looking at your horse and he looks a little old. I wondered how long old Ned will live. Then I looked at you and wondered about that too. I thought everything had to die."
"We're not old! We've just been used a little hard around the edges. It looks like things die, but the truth is nothing dies. It just changes. The Indians call it the circle of life."
"Grandpa, do you like Indians? Some of the kids at school don't like them."
"Don't you worry about what other people like. People weren't made just for liking. People were made for respecting. You respect every person for who he is and you will get along fine with almost everybody. Pay no attention to anybody who says different."
"But what is the circle of life?"
"It means things appear to end when they are just making a circle. The day appears to end when the sun goes down, but the sun never really goes down. A little farther to the west it is still today.
"People talk about yesterday and tomorrow, but those are just made-up marks on a map. The same old day just keeps moving round and round the earth and everyone pretends it is suddenly a new one when it passes their point on the map.
"The same is true of many things. The moon appears to change size and shape, but it really never does. It just goes through circles of appearance.
"The grass that grew here last summer looks like it's gone. But it's not. Now its part of some beef and will eventually become part of a person who eats a steak.
"I think that's why ranching must be the best job. We get to watch the miracles of the circle and just help them along a little."
"But, Grandpa, people aren't food. You can't be cycled into something else like the grass is."
"It is true that I am not likely to be eaten by a lion or bear. But someday you will pull a blade of grass from this hill and taste it while the west wind brushes your face and find out I never left at all. It just appeared that I did."