I’m challenging myself to participate in the WordPress.com PostAWeek challenge and I ask those of you reading to chime in with your thoughts and critiques.
After four-years of working on a ranch in Southeastern Montana, we threw our worldly goods in a horse trailer (Okay, several horse trailers), bundled up our children, horses, and dogs, and headed to Southwestern Idaho. The map tells me I am seven hundred miles from home, but I feel like I’m on another planet. My sense of self is strongly tied to the family ranch. I am simply a sum of those who have come before me. Who am I without a sense of place? It is my hope that this writing exercise will lead me to that determination. Meanwhile, I miss this.
I have not seen a crisp clear winter day like this in the “Banana Belt” of Idaho. My hope is that they exist out on the desert, the fog and dry ground in the Bruneau Valley is starting to get me down. Those of you on the Northern Plains suffering in the bitter cold may scoff, but I yearn for a wintery winter.
The Belgian mares returned to their home in Gopher, Montana when we headed West. I miss the intention and mindfulness required to feed cattle with a team of draft horses.
Then there is the matter of my brothers. I suffer from almost compulsive feelings of responsibility, a side-effect of being the eldest. This has caused me to feel my brothers’ absence like stones in my belly. They are all too smart for their own good, without my (ahem) sterling influence they may stray from the straight and narrow.
The man on the left, my oldest-younger brother, always the first to knock me off my pedestal; is an itinerant cowboy. He is bouncing around the Southwest, perhaps he will turn his face to the North with the snowbirds in the Spring. Unlike me, he finds the pull of home stifling rather than comforting. There is not enough room in Big Sky Country for him to spread his wings. Where I feel adrift in the black rock and sage, my brother feels at home.