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Have you ever heard the old timers talk about the great blizzard of ’82 or ’85? When I was young they talked about the great blizzard of ’02 or ’04 – or whatever year it was. I heard and read about those great blizzards that would catch the ranchers unprepared and destroy many of them. Hundreds of thousands of cattle and horses were killed. The year it happened varies. The destruction tally varies. The number of days the storm rages varies. But one thing is constant. It was a terrible time. It was a tragic time. It was the ruin and death of many men and cattle.

The reason for the great devastation was more than the freezing temperatures; it was more than the length of the storm; it was more than the huge amount of storm that fell. Maybe it was a combination of all those things. But the old timers say that when it first started snowing the cowboys waded through the snow and fed the cattle hay. Pretty soon it got so cold and snowed so much that some of the ranch hands were lost in the blizzard and died. After a while, the cattle couldn’t be fed. The winds blew with a terrible force. The snow continued to pile up.

At first the cattle could find shelter on the leeward side of things. After awhile, that got filled up with snow and the cattle started drifting with the wind. They put their backs to the wind and it pushed them along. For awhile the fences stopped them. Then the snow packed and piled up so high that the fences were covered. The cattle put their backs to the wind and slowly were pushed farther and farther from home. They went with the wind over fences and across streams and off their pastures. After awhile they began to die from the cold and starvation.

When the storm was over, they lay piled up in frozen heaps – some hundreds of miles from home. Why did they die? They turned they backs to the wind and took the path of least resistance to their doom. Cattle and horses don’t like to face the wind. You will see them turn their backs to the storm, hang their heads down, and go with the wind – sometimes to their own destruction.

We have that tendency, too. We like to put our backs to the wind and hide our faces and go the way of least resistance.

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