Lightening cracked open the sky, and thunder shook the earth again. The storm was on top of them. Most of the men and women were outside now, even though it was the middle of the night. The wind was getting stronger and was playing havoc with the lodge flaps, so the people were busy closing them, tightening the lodge poles, and gathering in what they could. Anything they could not grab was tossed into the air. Children were crying, mothers were screaming, and the men were busy giving commands that nobody heard.
A few of the men tried tending the panic stricken horses. Herding them into a small space worked well in spite of the noise. Another crack, and more rumbling from below. It seemed as if the earth might break open with the shaking. The men stayed with the horses as long as they could, until the hard driving rain forced everyone inside.
No one could sleep. Young lovers took advantage of the time, parents held their children, and some worried about the damage to the village. Would the horses return? They would have to wait until morning.
There was one person that was not awake or asleep. He went to live in the spirit world that night and left his body behind. Lone Horse had been an old man, loved by all the people. He had wisdom from the Creator, and usually after a council meeting people would say – “Lone Horse thinks….” or, “Lone Horse says…” Now there would be an empty seat at council meetings. It was a great loss for everyone.
His wife, Cricket in the Meadow, would not find him until morning. They had been married for more than fifty years, and the people would worry if she could survive the loss. Her health was frail, but fortunately there was still the sparkle of light in her eyes.
Their one child died at a young age from the fever. They carried this pain for the rest of their lives, but it gave them both a vulnerability, a sensitivity, that brought out love in all they did. The people would wrap their arms around Cricket in the Meadow, holding her tight, enveloping her with their love, for as long as she needed. They would get through this somehow, together.