Wednesday the first snow of year flew. It started some time in the wee hours of the morning, and continued until about 3pm that day. It was a good day to stay inside, make jewelry, and get some work done on the computer. But that meant that Thursday there would be riding in the snow; along with colder temperatures.
I knew we were going to have to help our relative/friend/neighbor gather their pairs in the big pasture (about 8000-8500 acres) since they are shipping out today. I didn’t know what time we’d be heading out so I was relieved to discover that we weren’t heading out until noon on Thursday. That meant we’d get a chance to thaw out a bit, and I would have time that morning to get some house-work done.
But the best laid plans of mice and men…or of cowgirls and ranchers…
Just when I was settling in for a morning of peaceful cleaning; I heard from our hired-man. He was asking if I would saddle up and help him move bulls. Typically, we like to pull our bulls off the cows around Labor Day. I’m not sure what happened this year that kept us from that, but they’re still out with the cows and it’s more than time to bring them home.
So despite the fact that it was a balmy, sunny 18 degrees outside, I kind of couldn’t resist the thought of riding through a snow-filled pasture on a good horse to search for bulls. We were going to have to hurry if we were going to grab a few and still make it 18 miles up the road, with fresh mounts, by noon.
When I pulled my gray mare in from the corral where she’d just taken a drink, she was literally shaking she was so cold. But don’t worry- shivering is Mother Nature’s way of keeping our horses (and other animals) warm. She was very active that morning with a great cowboy walk and a long-trot meant to take you somewhere. We found six bulls and saw a golden eagle; and the world was sparkling, peaceful and quiet. I actually had my camera with me, but I was too layered up to take a photo of the eagle or much of anything else, save for a couple shots I took on the way home. Only 5 of the 6 bulls made the trip. The #9 bull is blind in his left eye, and he wouldn’t line out. So he’d run off back to the cows. I’d get him headed the right direction again; and find myself out of position for a split second; but that was all it took for him to run off. Again- in the wrong direction. I’ll have to make sure when I find him again, I don’t move him until I have help directly with me.
It was a mad rush to get something in our bellies, our horses unsaddled and changed; I say that, and really all I did was leave my mare in the barn. The hired man- Burt unsaddled her and caught this beautiful beast for me:
One of the ranch studs- WDX Nukem. Nuke’s one of my favorite horses to ride. Riding a stud is unlike any other ride you’ll ever take. They’re fearless; can go all day and have a spring in their step that most other horses lack. He’s sure footed and is about like sitting on a 50 gallon drum. He’s probably one of the cowiest horses on the place, which makes him extra fun.
The coolest thing about riding the big pasture is that you drive into it about 6.5 miles. And then everyone splits up and goes their separate ways, only meeting again in one of three places. We’ve all ridden the pasture several times (me the fewest of them all) but it’s pretty much the same drill every-time. Yesterday afternoon, for whatever reason, was one of the most peaceful times I’ve ever spent horseback.
The snow was glistening as it began to melt under the heat of the sun; I actually saw a frog, yes a frog, hopping around, albeit not very fast, through the snow. I’m sure he was cold. I could hear nothing- not a car, not a plane, not a boat, not a cow, not another person’s voice. Just the breeze rustling the grass that wasn’t covered by snow. It was almost as if you could hear the earth singing to you.
Times like those, are the times when I personally feel most connected to my Creator. Every part of life seems beautiful right then; Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. I may not understand sometimes, the senseless, depraved things that people do to one another; I may not understand why the happiest people often lose loved ones or why God chooses to take anyone’s soul before we believe it to be their time, but then I have a moment like I had yesterday- where I’m frozen in time; with sunshine on my face, a good horse under me, communing with the creation God gave us. And for that moment, all of mankind’s depravity, the injustice that is often life, is forgotten, while I revel in the fact that I am blessed to get to do what I do. I savor those moments. And you should too. Be still. Take time to listen and enjoy the quiet.
Life absolutely doesn’t get better.