Sunday, July 31, 2011
People squawk about the bison verses the rancher but they don’t know the real fight is man verses man. Water is the number one resource fight in America. It is no different in Wyoming where you might think the thorns of hell catch your coat every time you leave the door. I suggested to Adam last summer to think about a dude ranch, you know a bed and breakfast for guests or specialize as a hunting lodge or something close enough to spend a couple days with the family playing little house on the prairie. They have a pretty stream, water rights and fair sized summer pond and the main house is large enough. He’s still thinking performance horses, studding his quarter horses and the glory past of a grand champion steer trophy. Adam has not gone to the State Fair in four years, fighting the cancer, being driven to town for chemotherapy is all he could lift his weary bones to survive. I will tell you point-blank this is the Third Great Depression but I was afraid to put it to him so harsh, he’s starting to look more ant-like with that distended abdomen full ball bad cells lumping.
I am musing as Shorty trots with the afternoon sun relaxing the muscles in my back, leaning light on the blades of bleached grass. Occasionally a stone or dip brings me back into real life, I am following my instincts not tracking when I actually find hoof marks about a mile from the border of land managed poorly by the Bureau. There are also the telltale signs of shoed horse prints spinning on the outside,“Shorty one can assume we’ve been robbed.”
The funny thing about animals, well dumb cows, they have no loyalty, but then I seem to find that in the men I pick, lying to everyone with a secret life. I am not speaking of cow brains that hold the mysteries of the universe but you would think they have enough sense to know who feeds them in the winter.
The tracks head toward a once marshy area of sycamores, old growth oaks and something that gives me great worry- wild berries: huckleberries, blackberries, and thimbleberries all wonderful to collect for a pie; but the favorite of black bears. I have Adams’ Colt 45 with me, and no, it is not an old -fashioned single shot it is a modern steel stopping machine. I could challenge anyone at the firing range twenty years ago, but I have not practiced much and even a center shot might not fall a Momma bear. I follow the tracks into the bushes knowing I must be dutiful alert.
Shorty snorts understanding my worry, he is between my legs and feels the emotion of full fire alarm. We slow forward, I grab a branch to wack bushes making noises singing. I cannot seem to stick with a song that makes any sense for the situation. I start with my Sally Gardens lullaby then Coming Around the Mountain When She Comes blurts from my vocal cords. Shorty likes the soothing one better but I do not want to startle any furry teddy bears because they are not reasonable. A doe leaps from my stick stomping on the branches and looks at me irritated as if to comment on my intonation.
“Would you prefer something of Michael Jacksons?”
Then I try Beat It however I mix up the lyrics. We trek on past dried rush and bull weed. The tracks are convoluted and I decide to get out from the heavy brush, I’m wearing Adam’s slicker jacket sweating like a big dog because I don’t want ticks hopping on me. If there are deer, there is lyme disease. My nose is itchy with dust and the smell of rain memory, the earth wishing for a drink. As we lift up the hill I see the infant bears and I know I am in for trouble. I kick Shorty on faster to get distance from them as soon as possible. He rumbles his lungs and shows me what a stallion is made of in a full canter. The dumb bears follow as if it is a game. They make crying sounds behind me and I am looking through the leaves and branches as they hit my cheeks hoping not to spot their mother.
(((pss more to follow and need title input))