Solitude on the land is my solace of fall….
Every year this time I find myself reflecting on the harvest of summer as the seasons change and once again, silence falls like a veil of dignity on the land as it rests..
I love it as I love the quiet…the solitude of silence. I love walking out into God’s beautiful world. The land sleeps and yet when I walk it I can hear the stories of summer…stories of harvest and the history of family.
I grew up in a world of silence a third of the year, living on a remote cattle ranch in the mountains, without electricity, telephone, TV or even radio…the hectic life of the world disappeared and a new world of solitude became my life on the ranch. My world and daily life was my parents, our horses, the cattle and our cow dogs.
Life was simple. Get up. Go catch the horses, saddle up horses with Dad while Mom packed lunches into the saddle bags for us…follow Dad out of cow camp into the frosty meadow and head up Coleman Ridge…which was a mountain with a mountainous trail that we rode up…about half way up Coleman the trail disappeared. We had to pick a way to get to the top so we just zigzagged up the ridge breaking over into either the direction of Bear Creek or head off in the direction of Young Camp depending on which pastures we planned to gather and check.
If Dad chose for us to go towards Young Camp and on towards Jordan Creek, we rode a few more miles to get to Young Camp and then we rode over another ridge from Young Camp that dropped us into the Upper Jordan area. Riding down the ridge of Upper Jordan Creek, you got off your horse leading the way down the ridge to the bottom as it was steep with heavy under brush, loose rocks, rock walls and logs…you took it slow and easy zigzagging your way over logs and brush. If you ran into cattle, you shooed the cows out of the brush and pushed them along in front of you trying to get to the bottom. Once you hit the bottom, you stopped for them to get a drink, while keeping an eye on them in case one decided to make a mad dash, as usually there was always one that did. As soon as you could you drove them on up another ridge into Whiskey Creek or if you steered them a bit different into Brown Miller and Elk Mountain country.
After we got them settled for the night, we turned back towards home, cow camp, where Mom kept the home fires burning…we would get in just about dark and in time for dinner. Dad would say “We rode about 35 miles today Marcy, you did a good job with the cows, taking it slow.” After dinner and a couple of card games of double solitaire with Mom, I usually hit the hay as I knew we would be up early, saddling horses and heading out once again to check on more cattle to be sure they had plenty of water and good feed. Never a dull moment on a cattle ranch as each day was a new adventure filled with good memories:)
Life was simple. It was quiet and peaceful…solitude…I learned to survive being alone…doing without worldly stuff and things…one depended more on God and the incredible beauty of His sky…His land…His weather…His animals…and you expected less. Life was good. I miss it….I miss it a lot.
Stay tuned as I am working on my next Pendleton Round Up post:)