Nomads on the wild steppe set up their encampments close by or on excellent pastureland with fresh water and sappy grass for their livestock, yet far away from one another to allow each other the space for pastures. In the eyes of those who are accustomed to the busy city life, the life of a nomad is extremely dull. But nomadic life is far from boring. The nomadic life goes back thousands of years. Nomads have been composing their own stories and epics, have been communicating with their hills and waters, have been drawing up their astrological charts, have been writing their books, have been singing their longsongs, have been playing Morin Huur - the horsehead fiddle. And through the melodies of Morin Huur they express their love for, and understanding of, the natural world and their livestock, they raise their children, they race their horses, they hold festivals and celebrations, they serve out airag…. They have little or no free time.
Mend-Ooyo wrote his famous poem "Mother Earth," to promote the protection of the natural world and of cultural heritage, in 1980, and for some thirty years it has been sung to a tune composed by R.Enhbazar. Many of his works, such as Altan Ovoo, speak of the precious links which Mongolian nomads have developed with the earth, and to the link between human beings and the natural world.
The forty swans circled over the ger several times, wondering whether they could trust the harmless old couple, whether the passing of time would inevitably push them forward. Their calls ricocheted off the surface of the pond into the blue spaciousness of the sky and, like the threading of a needle, they flew away.