The winter storms came blowing in down the mountains and in to craggy little Montana valley. All was good in so many ways. But it was also unsettling in so many others. I took a long drought from the cold draft my favorite bartender had pulled for me in the local dive. Yes, I could have called it a pub, I could have called it bar, but it was simply a cowboy dive. Dim lights, a couple of pool tables and not the most appetizing bar food. We knew each other there, no putting on of airs. Our hope, dreams struggles and heartbreaks had been shared in this little building at the base of the wild untamable Rockies. It was simple , a highway ran through , accompanied by railroad tracks and a sometimes gentle ,sometimes roiling river which had been the creator of this s valley ran through this place we all called home.
Yeah, no glamour here, but a cold beer after a hard day’s work , the sparkle and laughter in the eyes of friends. It made it a reality that gripped my core and bound me to this wild land. I finished my first beer and the second was already waiting .Oh my friend Snow Eyes Crystal, how different our lives had been, but you pour the libations that send my mind off into the thoughts pertaining to the amazingness of destiny. Myself, a southern gal who spent her younger years on the manicured equine jump courses of the South. A fine thoroughbred between my legs, the passion I felt for all things equine deftly encouraged. Such a pastime would allow a girl of breeding to find the perfect match. I guess my sear suckered, cigar smoking, banker daddy never guessed that his blonde beauty would go rogue. But yes, it happened. That first week of sorority rush when the skies glowed Carolina blue. I sold the entire contents of daddy’s well-furnished condo to a guy named Mike Levy from New York. Took the money and headed west. That boy from New York probably knew me better than I knew myself due to the fact that he left an eagle feather in the envelope that held the cash when enabled my flight. So much for freshman passion under the Carolina skies.
Now Snow Eyes never gave up much, a Blackfoot, born and bred in the wild country we now called home. The “we” are wild girls and quite a bunch we are. Ranching is tough and you either have it in your blood or you just need walk away for you won’t make it. So as snow kicked off western boots dried in the hallway, I waited on my roommate, my buddy and my truest friend. My cold compadre finally wandered in, one Saanvi Patel. Herein lies the rub of risky horses and wild skies. It attracts a myriad of spirits and unbridled souls. Maybe it was the trip to Yellowstone in her youth, but Saanvi saw the wild ones running free across the open range, a storm rolling in across the mesa and the best directions of family simply fell on deaf ears. Two years into college Saanvi loaded her barrel racer “Sam” in his trailer and headed west. Oh and yes, the whole equestrian thing had been great with her family until she choose barrel racing and penning calves. But to be honest rodeo pictures of Saavni decorate Patel businesses all over the east coast. A photo of a long dark haired beauty in a Stetson cutting cans in a wall of horse and rider kicked up dirt. Large brown eyes, dark hair blowing behind the mistress of the powerful, nostril flared steed she rode, both united and running against the clock. Not something one expects to see beneath a picture of Ganesh and a peacock unfurled. My girl Saavni, colt breaker extraordinaire. I laughed and offered up a toast as she walked in. Snow Eyes smiled behind the bar and pulled Saavni a cold draft.
Now these wild lands of Montana are big skies, tumultuous weather and nothing about life out in this big old bad country is easy. So I guess the question that needs to answered is how did three girls, wild free spirits find each other? The stockyards. Yep, Billings, Wyoming. Just like those fashionistas stalking the garment districts of New York hoping to be discovered. The runways of the sale barn were our catwalk. Truth be told, two of us could have done the NYC catwalk thing. Myself and Saavni, Snow Eyes not so much. For myself and Saavni came from families with dreams of MRS degrees, well made matches and futures defined by family connections. Snow Eyes on the other hand was reservation bred. Many stormy nights huddled by the toilet in a decrepit mobile home, tears flowing freely as her father disagreed with her mother, drunken battles brought about by no hope for the future. Just a government check that changed little from time to time. Her cousins had a barn full of Appaloosa horses and she found her soul bareback out beneath the Creators skies. To be honest there was not a horse gone rogue she could not bring to heel, but odd girl she was, she only picked some and let the others fly free. She said she felt their spirits were more of the big lands and maybe they should be allowed to perish at the hands of the killers than live a life of slavery. But I digress, it was a stormy night across the big sky when the three became one. You see the talent to run an unbroken steed through the sale, up and down the ally comes at a price and for those looking to get rid of unwanted stock, putting a pretty girl on the back of a wild horse ups the price. So we hung out at the chute picking up rides at twenty bucks a shot. Yeah, it’s odd three girls, backgrounds diverse, hanging at the gates, trying to pick up rides. But Snow Eyes talked to Saavni and they both talked to me. We pooled our money and got a place on a ranch running Angus and quarter horses. So this Friday night as the snows blow in around our world, we embraced each other’s spirits and celebrated the weeks end with warm embraces our valley bar with the winds whistling through the pass, the days of the cowgirls of the big sky were good.
The Emirates airliner banked right over the Pacific, a runway illuminated with brilliant lights, Aakar , stared out at the runway , so many miles, so many long nights of study. Yet here he was in Montana, the USA, he knew little of this place. Maybe stories of cowboys and the wild, the rugged lands haunted his mind, but this night, exhausted after miles of travel all he could do was focus on the job ahead. ….More to come