Baxter Black: Sandhills Savior
June 9, 2017
In the sandhills of Nebraska stands a monument of wills
Where man has staked his claim to them blowin', rollin' hills
Where the buffalo once scattered in the bunch grass, belly deep,
A whiteface calf, contented, sucks his mama, half asleep.
But you cannot know the beauty or appreciate the past
Unless you know the reason cows could stay and man could last.
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For humankind is greedy and the babies need to eat
So to the rancher-farmer fell the task of growin' meat.
The fertile black dirt farmland runnin' up and down the Platte
Got covered up with people, their driveways and their cat
And them that lived in cities saw no use for sandhills land
So the cattlemen and cowboys come up north to try their hand.
They treated her with reverence and learned what Indians knew
That it cannot take abusin' 'cause she's fragile through and through
And they learned a crucial factor to keep them cows alive
Takes more than snow and sunlight, it takes water to survive.
So they dug their dainty windmills and pumped life outta the ground
It allowed the cows to flourish so the people stayed around
Then little townships prospered and, you can see by now,
They've built a whole existence upon the humble cow.
From Thedford to Hyannis, from Valentine to Rose
Across that sandy country where the prairie grass still grows
You'll see those man-made daisies, silhouettes against the sky
Their steel petals gleaming on their stalks eighteen feet high.
On Nebraska highway twenty or state road eighty-three
There's a million creakin' windmills standin' proud for you to see.
They represent a people and the land they're livin' in
The lifeblood of the sandhills spinnin' freely in the wind.