The Fall Equinox graced this part of the world with a cool, clean morning that blossomed into a clear, sunny day. The following days seem to shimmer with summer heat, but the blackbirds appear in large flocks and the cottonwoods are beginning to turn yellow. It is undeniably Autumn in Wyoming. With the change of seasons, comes the gathering and shipping of cattle to market.
I began my chores after I loaded my boy up on the school bus. My chore load has increased this year, with the addition of a Jersey milk cow to our animal menagerie. Then, I gathered my best pony, Carlo, to work cows. We’re both a bit chubby and out of shape. So our trot to the far pasture was a leisurely one ,with lots of alternate walking. All the better to enjoy, the moisture in the morning air and observe the locals. We surprised ever-present Pronghorn, a family cluster of Mule deer, and witnessed a kit fox skipping about. Ears that dwarfed its tiny body and the sweep of his tail were the only visible evidence of his presence in the tall grass.
I was lucky, when I reached the pasture all of my cows were handily grazing in the nearest corner. It is rare, that it works out so neatly when working cattle. After checking the water, salt, and mineral, I pushed the cows through the corner gate and headed to the nearest set of pens with them. As the cattle fell off the hill towards the corrals, the thunder of horse hooves greeted me. I had unexpected help from our herd of retirees and colts. Although enthusiastic, they were piss poor cowboys. The entire bunch of horses managed to stand in the gate long enough for the cows to loose interest in quietly passing through. Fortunately, with some coercing on my part all parties fulfilled their expected roles and the cattle were successfully corralled.
It was delightfully fun to sort our yearling steers out of my little herd of cows. I was able to work slowly, because time wasn’t an issue. I paired cows through the gate, leaving the yearlings in a smaller pen. I enjoyed every concentrated flick of Carlo’s ears and subtle step that resulted in success. This is the life I want to build for myself, a life filled with moments that turn into hours free of external deadlines or distractions, fully-engaged in the present.