Amidst the pandemic and all else, I made it to the ranch for a week in July. It had been far too long. A balm for my spirit.
I recently discovered the music of Ryan Bingham and listened throughout the trip, as I crossed the wide expanses of open country. I chuckled at the name of this coffee shop when I stopped for gas in Lusk, Wyoming.
Only in Wyoming—and a fairly apt description of me on many days. Thirteen hours into the trip with only one to go, I crested a hill to this storm cloud. Stunning.
And fourteen hours after leaving Santa Fe, I turned down the lane at last.
The stars aligned this year with Bo and I were both on the ranch at the same time. Wyatt is working on the ranch, joined by his girlfriend, Natasha, whose veterinary school classes went online. Luke spent a number of weeks. Work kept Noé and Wynn in Santa Fe.
This was the first time in many years these four Winks managed to be in the same place at the same time. A gift.
Too bad we had no fun at all!
Checking water tanks with Daddy and Bo.
It was July 3 and Mom referred to us as her “three firecrackers.”
A gorgeous rain came through. I only wish I could include the scent with this video! Imagine it’s there.
The shifting light, colors, and textures of the land and sky on the Great Plains.
Work continued for Daddy and Wyatt. As Mom would say, “What could possibly go wrong?”
We squeezed as much as possible into this week, including trips to Spearfish, Mobridge, and Lemmon, South Dakota treasures. More on those soon.
Of course, one of my favorite times on the ranch was my time with Josie, who holds such a special place in my heart for so many reasons. She was the inspiration for the mare in Meadowlark. She’d been out for the summer and one evening Daddy and I headed out to the pasture to see her.
Josie is a grullo with her wild and wonderful coloring. In the winter she hairs-up so much she resembles a yak. Her mane reflects her grullo coloring with threads of russet, blonde, roan, black, sorrel, and the spectrum in between. I cut the tangle from her mane, trimmed the rest, couldn’t quite leave on the ranch, and brought home. My family is not quite sure why hair from Josie’s mane remains on our kitchen counter.
Because laced within the beauty of the horsehair strands are all they represent. Shades and textures of the prairie entwine within, as does the ranch and all that holds—birdsong, shifting light, textures, and colors, and years of family love and memories. One of my guiding quotes is, “Children need two things: roots and wings.” So many of my kids’ deepest roots thread this land, roots that ground them through the sunshine and the storms of life.
As I go about my day, I find myself reaching over to run the tips of my fingers across the coarse, colorful strands of Josie’s mane and my heart smiles.