Monday, June 18, 2012

Cowgirl Dreams Do Come True

Vee Bar Ranch, Laramie, Wyoming

Hoofbeats. Dust. Sun.
Every morning just after sunrise, the horses gallop in on a rush from whatever pasture they leisurely roamed the night before. They live like horses were meant to live; running free and bold and safe within their herd, eating native sweet grasses, taking shelter under trees. The wranglers  drive them in, and the rest of the day, the horses choose us women to fancy them. We spread out into the open range where there is loose stock to look after; we climb a nearby mountain for expansive views of the landscape,and  giggle nervously as we try riding bareback with (look Mom, no hands!) our eyes closed.


One morning we rode across desert dry ground and over muddy irrigation ditches. Adolescent eagles perched in a mammoth nest at the top of a poplar, and wild iris poked up through tall grasses, swishing in the wind. Black angus cows watched our meanderings as we gently herded them toward a salt lick.  In the afternoon, we rode through timber; all ten of us women plus two young wranglers: competent, capable girls on break from university. 


Of the ten women riders, three have survived breast cancer. We talked about our busy, complicated lives, what goals we hold dear, what dreams and their revisions we were still chasing.


Someone said, like the horse, women know what it feels like to be preyed upon, and then before the thought could fully sink in, we attended to negotiating a crossing; our horses stepping carefully over river rocks as we splashed through clear moving water.


I sank my body into the saddle and let my mind drift into real time. Smelled the sweet sage, felt the gathered reins in my hand. And I imagined the horses waking up from their sleep, content in their herd, grazing in the sweet grass, choosing us as we have chosen them, all of us fully anchored to this wild, beautiful earth.

*You can join retreat leader, writer and horsewoman +Page Lambert, in Laramie Wyoming for her yearly Literature, Landscape and the Horse program. You'll enjoy lots of riding, writing, laughing and sharing with other women horse lovers, and get a good taste of authentic ranch life. 

Note: I left Laramie, Wyoming on June 10 for a boat trip from Seattle to Anchorage, AK; we will be at sea for 21 days with little internet access. Please stay tuned for my next blog post...with patience.
Peace,
monica

10 comments:

  1. Wow. You are really riding and taking a boat trip from Seattle to AK? I am so envious. What a journey. I look forward to more posts and beautiful photos like these.

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    1. We're in Ketchikan and getting ready to depart to Juneau (which may take a week). We'll be spending a couple days in Glacier Bay for kayaking; thank you, Annice, for tuning in!

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  2. Ah, and not once did you have to use your gigantic thumbs to hitchhike north, on the ice highway, where men ride their giant diesel stallions in winter just to scare the TV audience... and your boat ride never once required you to dump a basket of king crabs on the deck, while the men talked of profit and loss... yeah, you got it made, baby... Sorry, I have to imagine all 10 of you bareback and bare chested, skin dimpled in the morning dew... the horses pretending not to be excited by this... ride on. mag

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    1. Hahaha...Uma Thurman played a great part in the movie, huh? I just watched it recently...good ol' Netflix. Carry on!

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  3. Monica -- this is fantastic! Please call me when you get home. . . thanks for sharing this amazing experience. I'm sure you'll be writing about this for a long time to come!

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    1. Oh, yes. Look forward to talking when I get back home, probably around 2nd week of July. tally ho, Kaylene!

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  4. this description, how wonderful it is, monica. i really can't wait to hear more about your boat trip from seattle to anchorage. sounds fantastic. see you in about 3 weeks.

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    1. Yep; maybe we'll get another port with internet access, but much of the trip we'll be winging it. I hope to get some good shots in Glacier Bay.

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  5. Hi Monica! What great photos - you have a gifted way with words and a gifted eye with the camera. I'll claim the comment, "Like a horse, women know what it means to be preyed upon." It's one of the things I like to talk about at the retreat - that there are many reasons for the special bond women feel with horses, and that we understand them, and they us, at many levels.

    I haven't read your other recent posts yet, but am eager to. The Alaska photos are amazing. Thanks, Monica!

    Page Lambert

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  6. One of the things I really enjoyed was engaging in conversation while we rode; impossible to do in nose-to-tail riding!

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