Tales from a Texas Ranch from a City Boy with a Cowboy Hat
After seeing my son-in-law off to return to Austin with the infamous Skunk the Dog in the back seat of his car, and short conversation with a buddy on Skype, I started to pack up my gear for my return to my little house in San Angelo - time to mow the lawn.
But I stopped for a moment and gazed over the valley. Bright blue sky with a small cottony cloud here and there, 80 degrees with a gentle breeze, and wonderfully quiet.
"What the hell..." I said to myself, and called a neighbor.
"Got a horse I can borrow?" I asked. (I haven't owned a horse in years and haven't been in the saddle for at least twenty)
"Sure!" he said.
Within the hour, I had saddled up with my very old saddle and a large red towel for a saddle blanket that had been left at the ranch house by my friend Molly couple of years ago .
Off I went....across one pasture, then another. Startled whitetails sprinted off, tails flagging the apparent danger I presented; a covey of quail skittering off into the brush as I passed. Buzzards circling in the sky, riding the light breeze. A jack rabbit frozen beneath a mesquite bush, hoping not to be discovered. A grey fox disappeared in the corner of my eye in a blink.
I was a bit awkward in the old saddle because it had been so long.
But it was a good ride...four hour's worth. I remembered the sounds of saddle leather; squeaky as the horse moved.
Just before I returned to the house, I stopped atop a small rise and surveyed...sun lowering in the west to the horizon, blue sky darkening, bird songs, a wafting gentle breeze that stirred the mesquite leaves, horse shifting slightly as we stood there...
"Yes," I said to myself. "This is my church. Thank you, Lord."
I turned the horse and we returned to the house.
I damn-near fell down when I dismounted, but didn't.
"Whoa!" I thought. "It HAS been a long time."
So, I cleaned horse and myself up, got in the pickup and returned to my modest little house in San Angelo, where the un-mowed lawn and Jezzie the Cat greeted me.
After twenty years not having been in the saddle, methinks I'll be having a little hitch-in-my-giddy-up tomorrow, and maybe the next day, too.