Let me take you back to last week, when the weather could not be described as anything but gorgeous. 60 degrees and sunshiney, the green gold had just started to break ground. The air was sweet and clean with barely a breeze blowing. While having a cup of coffee with my cowboy he asked my plans for the day. “Oh, this and that,” I replied lightly, looking past him at the monstrous pile of laundry that was awaiting me. “Well, I was going to ride through the cows. You wanna put a ride on a couple of horses with me?” he asked as put on his boots. Um, hell yes! I practically sprinted out of the house right then, but my horse print pajamas stopped me short. I pulled on my oldest, most comfortable faded jeans and grabbed my spurs off the top of the dresser. Yes, some women have jewelry and flowers on their dressers, I have spurs. With my boots under one arm and my bridle over the other, I practically skipped out to the waiting pickup.
It was a perfect day out – the kind that requires a tank top and sunglasses. I watched as Cowboy brought the horses in from their pasture, their heads high and the sun reflecting off the flanks. Having done this thing before every spring, the horses went right into the waiting corral without any objection. I swung the gate closed behind that last one, turning as Cowboy pulled up. Pulling a couple of halters from his truck, he grinned, “Which one do you want, Chrome?” Ha, ha, very funny… I smiled sweetly and then punched him in the arm. Ah, Chrome. The very decent looking chestnut gelding had been my enemy since the spring earlier, when he dumped me in front of my Cowboy and his cowboy friends. Here I was, the new kid in this group, who was training horses for a living at that point and I fell off while moving cows. I do wish there was a spectacular story but the truth is that I fell off “like a fat kid eating cake” as some of my friends would say. Not graceful, not happy. Of course, I endured merciless teasing from my cowboy, which resulted in Cowboy cooking for himself for a week or two. I chose Blue, a big gray gelding that a reputation for being gentle but not smooth. My cowboy spent a few minutes catching the young horse he had rode all summer. Slim, or Slim Shady as Cowboy called him, is a gangly sorrel with patch of while on his barrel. Slim carries his head a little too high and his legs are a little too long, giving him the look of a giraffe or a horse out of a Remington painting. To my surprise and delight, Cowboy brushed and saddled both horses – I felt spoiled! I got on big Blue to watch the show. Slim had been nothing but solid since Cowboy started riding him the year before, but the spring is different. Months of vacation and green grass can make even the most broke horse buck during the first ride of the year. They just felt so good! I get that. My cowboy stepped in the stirrup and threw his leg over. As Cowboy walked and trotted Slim in small circles, it became obvious that nothing was gonna happen. It was all a little anti-climatic.
Off we headed toward the pasture that held the 200 pairs we were checking. In the distance I could see the coal black calves, some sleeping, others racing through grazing mama cows, their short calf tails sticking straight up in the air. A little breeze ruffled my hair as I settled into the ride and the sun warmed my shoulders. I caught my cowboy’s eye and grinned. If there was a rancher’s bride nirvana, this was it.
The most special thing about our island in the mountains are the scenes that a sight that will make even the most pessimistic person know that there is a God. Riding through the green hills under the Crazy Mountains with the love of my life, I felt an overwhelming sense of contentment. I was home.