I hurriedly snuggle deep into my sleeping bag a couple hours after the sun has set and the
full moon has risen. Smoke from the many fires fills the air, coyotes sometimes
yip in the distance but the abrasive sounds of helicopters surveilling and
small planes circling never ceases.
Now the hammering also continues long after dark, as
folks scramble to complete winter structures before the snow, even more cold,
and icy wind descend upon the plain. Then the barking of dogs intermittently
breaks into the silence of the night.
Drums beat and First Nation People fierce songs lift with
the smoke, eerily blending and meshing with the howling wind and muted glow of
the omnipotent moonlight, long into the night, laying down rhythmic peaceful resonance
floating over to dull the whumph of helicopters & the buzzing of drones.
It is rarely quiet here, but it is never dark: the black
snake pipeline klieg spot lights illuminate a path just north of the river as
it sneaks closer and closer to the Missouri, while all through the camps the lights
from the dozens of sacred campfires flicker brightly, dimming only toward
sunrise to be stoked again before breakfast.