We have been traveling, skirting the country like mad these past few weeks, covering a total of nine states between us. We have sped across interstates, slept in airports, met kind strangers, rubbed elbows with top-notch academics, partied with Navy guys and bumped up against high caliber writers and editors. More on all that in upcoming posts, but on this cold fall Friday, I want to bring one phenomenal thing to your attention.
Two weeks ago, on Oct. 4, a mean and merciless blizzard ravaged the landscape of western South Dakota. Tens of thousands of dead cows blotched the wrecked-white hills and valleys, black lumps that made ranchers’ stomachs churn and tears well up in their eyes. Livelihoods lost. Prized agriculture gone.
Tears welled in my eyes as I listened to my dear friend, Dawn Wink, try (just try) to talk about the devastation. The blizzard cut through her family’s ranch, a place that lives in her bones so deep and a place about which she writes with profound fondness often. Every time she tried to bring it up, the storm and the dead cattle and the tremendous loss of power and the heartache, her voice wavered. She faltered, holding her hand to her mouth, waiting with hard patience for the wrenching moment to pass.
But Dawn, like the tough ranchers who call western South Dakota home, has the grit to stare the devastation head on, to confront the heartache and the tragedies and do something about it. Her blog post on the blizzard, prompted more than 1,100 responses, many of them asking, “What can we do to help?”
Dawn answered, along with her friend, Santa Fe artist Rebecca Farr. The logo you see here is Farr’s design, made exclusively for a tee shirt whose mission is to help South Dakota Ranchers. Each tee shirt is $25.00, and proceeds go to the Black Hills Rancher Relief Fund, which has been set up specifically to help blizzard victims. Shipping and handling is free to anywhere in the world.
To purchase a tee shirt, visit www.rebeccafarr.us. Once you make a purchase, you will have the option of signing up to receive updates on how much money has been raised. If you would rather contribute directly to the South Dakota Rancher’s Relief Fund, please visit https://www.giveblackhills.org/27677.
Place tethers us like nothing else. Whether we want it or not, place holds meaning. When a place that holds meaning and carries your livelihood is ripped apart, how crucial it is to know you are surrounded by a network of love, support, and kindness. Let’s be that network for these people who were and are so tethered to the Black Hills. Thanks.