Thursday, November 20, 2008
Bulls, cowboys and perspective...
The Main Event is done, the bulls are sold, the trucks and trailers have been rolling down the highway to deliver these big boys to their new homes while we're breathing a sigh of relief that it's over, and we can pay the bills for another year. God is good. We're blessed to be able to live and work in the country on our own land with our family.
I was out walking in the yards amongst the pens of bulls and saw this crew of cowboys catching some sunshine (it was 70*) and waiting for the sale to begin. They were visiting quietly amongst themselves, taking notes and no doubt telling a joke or two as they waited. I know they spied me stopping to take their picture even though I was trying to be very nonchalant about it. You'll notice that heads are down and hats conveniently cover their faces. That's the beauty of a hat, really. If you have bad hair or a bald head, wear a hat. If you're cold, wear a hat. If you don't want anyone to notice you much (in SD, ND, MT, WY, NM or TX) wear a hat, especially if you pull it down over your eyes like all real cowboys do. After all, a hat is to shield your eyes from the sun and your head from the elements, besides which, most fellas look mighty handsome in a hat. Think Marlborough Man or Gary Cooper (below).
Making a living on a ranch is risky business. There are never any guarantees, but are there ever? We live from year to year, season to season -- waiting for rain, watching to see if the stock ponds fill, hoping for green grass and hay, working hard for spring calves and lambs, anticipating the heat of intense summer sun, riding on the herds, preparing bulls for sale day, and working desperately to complete the fall jobs before the inevitable winter cold rushes in and settles the once-living into hard, cold, lifeless quiet. It's truly a challenge to rely so heavily on the weather and the Come-What-May Difficulties that country living throws at us, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's a good feeling to go to bed at night tired and ready for sleep, which reminds me of a quote I read recently in the livestock paper. Baxter Black said this about the uncertain times and economy in his article, Perspective, "Put your fears in God's hands and pick up a shovel." I couldn't say it any better.