Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Wink Ranch, July 2020


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.

A molten sunset the first evening. 

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.

Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

50 thoughts on “Wink Ranch, July 2020

  1. Pingback: Everyday Patterns | Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

  2. Pingback: Wink Ranch, Part II – Welded Art Sculptures in Lemmon and Rock Climbing in Spearfish, South Dakota | Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

  3. Dearest Dawn, I really miss you. Thank for posting the most beautiful pictures of your beautiful family. I hope you are fine and safe there.

    • Dear Khaled, thank you ever so much for taking the time to connect! Lovely to hear from you. So glad to know that you enjoy the photos. I hope teaching is going well and you and yours are safe.
      Take good care,

  4. Thank you for. sharing your family with us. I love it!!

  5. Loved your photos and commentary on you South Dakota adventure with family.

  6. What magnificent glimpses. Must say Ranch is so amazing, heaven on earth, and there are such beautiful people present in the photos. Besides, You have some serious photography skills.

    • Dilawar, thank you so much for taking the time to connect here. Very grateful to know that you enjoyed the photos and the ranch! I take photos of what holds energy for me. I think some of the energy must comes through. I hope so!
      With gratitude,

  7. Beautiful, Dawn! I felt as if I were in the car with you arriving at the ranch. Love to all!

  8. Your writing is so beautiful, Dawn i will never forget
    “Meadowlark”. The visit with your family sounds

  9. Lovely phots and lovely dear people…I love the picture of the four of you at the table…….so great you could all be together for a few days! Love to you all!

  10. Beautiful pictures, Dawn, especially of your happy family reunion.

  11. Wish I had some hair from Mrs. Trash, a milk cow i daddy kept really got a yearly calf for the freezer until my younger brother and I realized we were to eat George Washington, her last offspring in our pasture.
    Oh, her name? We had a trash-burning barrel in the barn lot. If we emptied and didn’t burn the trash, she loved to nose through it, dump some on the ground and ingest anything edible she might find.
    You know my general age – Mrs. Trash is an old yet still vivid memory.

    • Dear Donna,
      Thank you so much for sharing the story of Mrs. Trash. Amazing how there are those extra-special memories that just don’t fade with time.
      Much gratitude,

  12. “… laced within the beauty of the horsehair strands are all they represent.”

    This line just about undid me when I read it, and does so now again. Although we do not live on a ranch, this is ranch land, and I’ve had the great good fortune of seeing additional dimensions of it through the senses (and opinions) of a little red horse with a little salt running through the black pepper of his mane and tail. We lost him recently, and I will never look at the braided strands I clipped from his tail the same. Thank you for sharing this detail from your trip to your home place.

    • Dear Andrea,

      This reads as poetry, beautiful poetry. Thank you so very much for expressing your experiences with such beauty, heart, and poignancy. An honor to receive.

      Deep gratitude,

  13. Dearest BA Dawn,
    When you write about The Wink Ranch, your tone, tense, and tempo shift. One hears melodies, rhythms, hoof beats of a land so precious and dear to you. It’s almost as if your heart is split open for all the world to see the beauty within. Thank you for sharing “your place” with us.

    p.s. In the photo where the four of you are at the table, you and your dad’s profile are identical! #twins.

  14. Ahhh, the prairie. Beautifully written. So sorry I missed you on your trip to Mobridge but happy you could come.

  15. I loved this, Dawn!  I could see, smell and feel the wonderful moods of the Wink West.  Hope you and all the family are staying safe and well.  Sending a huge hug to you!  Shirlee

  16. Thank you thank you Dawn ! I have looked over the pictures 4-5 times! To see all of you together makes me so happy . All of the memories with y’all
    are so wonderful . I sure do love you. Cathy

  17. So beautiful Dawn, your writing always makes me believe I am with you. The music fits the mood and vista perfectly. Thank you for sharing xxxxx

    • Oh, Gerry, you ARE always with me. I’m so glad you felt that in this piece. I agree about the music, just fit perfectly. Miss and love you like crazy, Dawn

  18. Bill Wasp, you captured beautifully what I wanted to say about the ranch visit with Dawn. Thanks to both of you!

  19. Great letter and photos of the Ranch. In this time of lockdowns and uncertainty, having land is one great blessing from Mother Nature! Thanks, Judi


    • Dear Judi, so wonderful to hear from you! Your art brings me such joy! So glad you enjoyed these – and yes, yes, yes on the land as a great blessing from Mother Nature!
      A hug,

  20. My heart smiles too, as I read this and see your prairie photos. Yes, the prairie sky is the big sky, ever changing and ever new.
    My mother taught high school English and other subjects at Mobridge High in 1943. And my dad was pharmacist there at the local drug store that year, before going to war.

    • Dear Judy, I’m so grateful to know that this made your heart smile, too. Oh, that big, prairie sky!
      Thanks so much for sharing the context of your mom teaching English and your dad a pharmacist in Mobridge. We did make it to Mobridge this year, which was wonderful.
      Thanks so much for connecting!

  21. Dawn,
    Your words, like the precious rain we have been receiving, are a balm in these scorching times. The photos range from whimsical to glorious. Thank you so very much.

  22. Dearest Dawn, Wow, lots to comment on, love the word study on Grullo, thank you……Ryan Bingham, became a fan of his when he was on the first season of Yellowstone 2 years ago, native to Hobbs, almost Texas, NM. Didn’t know they had Russian olives in SD. It’s good to have a veterinarian in training on the ranch! Don’t let OSHA see Wyatt up there in the bucket!! It’s always a joy when I see a new Dewdrops, thank you for sharing! You all are looking great!!! Large hugs and love, Dan

    • Dearest Dan, so wonderful to hear from you! That’s how I learned about Ryan Bingham, too – Yellowstone! Speaking of which, what a show! Aren’t those Russian Olives gorgeous? Daddy planted those several years ago. They are just thriving now. I did think about OSHA and Wyatt in that bucket… 🙂 So good to get back to the ranch. It had been way too long. So good to hear from you! Hugs and love, Dawn

  23. Beautiful! Feeling the love! 💕💕

    Sent from my iPhone

  24. Beautiful story. Love the pictures especially the one of you and your dad!

  25. Wonderful photos, makes me want to follow my childhood dream and become a cowboy. The most interesting thing is how happy the family seems.

  26. Thanks, Dawn! Missing SD and not sure when I’ll feel it’s safe to travel. 😔

  27. So lovely

    Sent from my iPhone


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