First Day of Fall

The first day of Fall and it seems like just yesterday I was tearing off my pantyhose in the bathroom at my office and kicking out of my work wardrobe. I’d have  slid myself  into a well worn pair of cutoffs with a soft cotton t shirt and headed out of the city.  The traffic would be terrible as usual, bumper to bumper, as I was rolled down that road to freedom with my a/c blasting on high. I’d recall watching the computer screen fade to black as I switched it off with a “Thank you Lord, this week is done”.

It takes me a good hour to come clear of the city and hit the wide open country side; another just to arrive in the low country. But even if it’s hotter that Hades on the worst day, I’d always pop open the sunroof and roll down the windows just to bathe in that pungent low country air. Yeah, I know its 2017 and I’m a woman now in her mid fifties. I should be getting my nails manicured and awaiting details of grandchildren near and afar. But old dogs don’t like new tricks and I’m pretty much an old dog at this stage, plus I never slowed my roll enough to pop out the first kid, so if a grandchild showed up it would be hell holy miracle. As for the nails, my destination held no future or purpose for a fancy shaping and a fresh coat of polish. I was doing as I’ve always done and heading to the horses . Those gentle beings of peace and power I’d enjoyed in solidarity with many like minded women across the nation, oh give me a break, around the world for as long as my memory serves.  13690803_1037510816324545_5437322099073137052_n

Now I know many of my business compatriots tend to think a lady of my advanced age and obvious sophistication would be delicately sipping chardonnay and discussing the latest fashions on a patio overlooking a vibrant cityscape on a Friday night. Wrong. A lady of my advanced age and sophistication is whipping her car in to a country convenience store to pick up a twelve pack of beer and two of those she will not delicately sip, but she will slam back as she walks barefoot through the pasture to catch her fat horse.  Once beer two has been chugged the lady of advanced age and now possibly dubious sophistication will feel pretty darn confident that she can just climb on her horse bareback and ride it back to the barn to be saddled. The story might sound a bit better if she rode the fields in a daring manner and  bareback. But a lady of advanced age needs the saddle bags for the rest of the twelve pack.

Now all that being said, there’s possibly nothing better on this earth as I see it than being out under the sky with a summer slick horse between my legs, the sounds of the cicadas singing in the treetops and a cold beer in my hand. Out on this rich black earth I’ve watched the corn go from tender sprouts to giant stalks waving high above my head. I’ve seen a million fireflies dance in the forest that lines the riverbanks and the thick Junes bugs dance in the grasslands . I’ve raced many a storm home across the pastures with lightning cracking across the skies and thunder roaring in the distance. Though I consider this land blessed it often  seems like a million degrees with a hundred percent humidity out in these rich Carolina fields. Even with the cooling of the evening hours sweat still rolls down your chest and drips from your legs. My sassy steed always has a slick sheen of perspiration across her glossy  coat after a day in the sun. The slightest breeze is the most sacred of gifts and from that one is instantly reminded the smallest of things truly count. By this time  I’ve watched the lily pads in the ponds go from vibrant circles of green cast upon the blue black canvas of the water, to green circles with brilliant blooms of pink and white. Crops have sprung to life, kissed the skies for a brief time and fallen to the harvest as rode the edges of their domain  on many a sultry Friday night.  But just like the days in that shimmering summer sun have etched a few more lines upon my face and freckles upon my skin. The memories of those dusky rides have will forever remain the core of my being and that which carries me when the nights become long and the days become short.

 

So on this first day of Fall as the seasons meld into one another and Summer recedes into the past, this lady of advanced age who gives not a whit about sophistication is still going to shed her panty hose at five o’clock, pick up a twelve pack and head for the horses. Yes, she’ll slam two down on the way to catch her fat horse , she’ll look at the leaves just starting to turn with the first blush of Fall and she’ll decide not to ride in bareback this time , but to enjoy the stroll.12295308_903397193069242_7256518864315359349_n

Advertisements

Clearcut- Coming Summer 2017

img_0021

 

I guess she swore off love somewhere between Tennessee and Montana. The pain she felt as she rolled through the hills of North Carolina, the tears that rolled down her cheeks as she crossed late night into Tennessee dried with the sunrise. The world behind her, a miasma of pain and loss. Who was he? The man who brought so much to her heart and yet destroyed her world? A world she’d built from pain and sacrifice. Did he even know what his machinations has caused? She hit the gas as she rolled for the Kentucky border. Who was he and why had such a brief encounter disturbed her world so much? She could still smell the fresh cut earth, she could still feel his embrace that made everything good in a bad and evil world. She could smell the musk of him as their eyes locked, the magic of their embrace that night under the hot Carolina moon . But she’d read him wrong, or so she guessed. The look in his dark eyes was fire, passion and eternity. Yet he’d sold out. She reached a hand over and caressed Duke the ancient hound that had refused to leave her rig when  she’d loaded Lycan and rolled out. Storms a still arching  behind her over the Carolina hills. Yet sun was cresting over the great Mississippi as she rolled into Missouri, gateway to the West. She wiped her eyes and drove on . He was simply, not what she had had thought.

 

Ash Denton stared in the mirror as he straightened his tie. The tinkling of glasses at the party below a background to his existence but not to his heart. He raised his eyes to the TV on the wall. A news story played out from one of those small towns that never really effected a man of means such as himself. Yet it rolled across the screen. His blood drained, there she was, the blonde from his project, his saboteur. And by all the Gods known to mankind the woman he loved more than life itself. “Don’t deny it Ash” he told himself. Not a minute had passed since he had touched back down into his world of high rollers and city lights that he’d not thought of her. Smelled her essence and  felt her heat which had absorbed his soul under that hot Carolina moon. The news story was simple, a dam broke in the new development up on the hill, flooding the low country. His dam. His project. The blonde stared at the camera, golden eyes, heartbreak and tears running down a gilded, freckled cheek. As the story rolled the sound of gunfire echoed in the background. The announcer said no lives had been lost but a mule had been put down. Luke, his breath caught in his throat. He stared at the screen, the gun fire, and the blonde winced in pain. Here he stood, millions at his disposal, a party in full swing celebrating some achievement, of his of which he had no clue. His body went limp his breath would not come. Ash Denton, always so in control felt his world spin.

 

Tessa Mcreary pushed her rig across the river towards the Missouri countryside. She had stopped along the way to walk the big stallion Lycan and the acceptance at the truck stops had been great. A leggy golden blonde accompanied by a golden horse, well the thumbs up had been many. A girl in love with a black eyed city man who had broken her heart was another story.  A story that was one she would never let anyone read. The gunshots from when she’s lost Luke the mule echoed in her brain and she so wanted to hate him, the man from the city who had destroyed her gentle world. But by all the stars in the sky, she could not. She could simply follow the only path she’d ever known and run from the pain. So she rolled west, towards the big sky, anonymity and freedom. Put that time with him in her past if she  could, but she could still feel his eyes, those moments of being lost in them, his touch,moments complete.

Some point before the acceptance speech, Ash Denton, man of fortune, leader of business, just went crazy . He had heard the gunshots , seen her pain all on a video screen and felt detached from his world, yet it was his world, this one of power in which he reigned.  yet, he couldn’t smell the earth, hear the roar of the waters, save Luke, nor her. With all his power, all his money, a world outside of his grasp had spun wildly out of control. The crystal glass of high end vodka turned end over end as he threw it at the screen. A man who had just realized being a man meant so much more than accolades and millions. A man whose heart pulsed with a wild undying love written on the stars and uncompromised by the restrictions of society proper. He tore his tie from his neck and headed for his car, I-95 would take him south, he’d hit the blue ridge by dawn. So this is the story Ash Denton, a man of incalculable  means chasing his heart into the night and this is the story of Tessa Mcreary, a runner from a world that had caused her pain and heartache.  Yet this is the clashing of souls, the story of destiny and the story of love beyond the boundaries.

Roses to run for….

18221884_1315711225171168_5184682348638994281_n

What the heck has happened to the Kentucky Derby? The Run for the Roses? My Old Kentucky Home? Where are those folks that prayed over a blue grass field on a cold January day as a new foal tested its legs on the winter hard ground? A smile of understanding on their faces as legs new to this world found their strength and gave flight to the babe across grasses green. Where are those who live and breathe the scent of fresh pine shavings and horse sweat as the summer heat swelters in across the pastures? They struggle, they budget and they do without, yet they embrace the passion of something deeply encoded in their DNA and keep going even though the odds are long. All I’ve seen today is some sort of detached Red Carpet Gala. Who’s wearing who’s what and who’s with who. Where are those who mucked the stalls and mowed the fields, cutting back here and there in hopes that young colt they’d been raising could run for greatness? But Oh look Boink Boink has on Givenchy!

Well to be honest I’ll tell you where they are, or to be more correct where we are. We’ll be the tired lady who’s pulled a 60 hour week in a world we detest, but the one who does it with a smile because it allows us to be here. No not sipping champagne and hoping to be the next viral hashtag of the moment. But here, here in the seedy sale barns and desolate kill pens that are located all over this land. We won’t be dining on Lobster or winking at Billionaires. We will be cracking that ninety nine cent can of Vienna Sausages and watching the kill buyer. Yes, if we’ve got to wink, we might and yes, if we’ve got to do more, well, we may. But somewhere this side of a Lady on TV with more names than a Hanoverian Warmblood Stud who’s telling us the pedigree of her billion dollar bet. We will be the ones with our hearts caught in our throats as a beat up, half-starved relative of Hanoverian ladies billion dollar bet stumbles into the auction lot. We will hope and pray. Sometimes we’ll remember the payday loan place we passed a while back, add, subtract and calculate that we’ll have the money the pull the beaten soul from this hell. Somewhere in the back ground we’ll hear the semis rumble as they fire their engines and get ready for long, cold, waterless, hungry, journey to the north. We will smell the diesel, our blood will run cold. A journey that will carry the beat up, half-starved gray filly a relative of the fancy ladies bet, north to have a bolt shot through her head. Dead or not even quite, she’ll be chopped, minced and packed. Brilliant eyes will shine no longer, a gallant heart will beat no more and hooves will never again find their flight across the grassy green earth. But oh look, Edna Farquar Mills Helms Rosenburg Jones is wearing a daringly short skirt at age 78. Who’s it by?

The winds will blow, the kill buyers will shout and the scared filly will run up and down a 20 ft lot. Miles away surrounded in glory and grandeur a well attired man will smile to himself as he places his money on a colt. More money than the lady in sale barn has ever known. He does it simply because he likes the dam’s name. The same dam that gave life and nurture to the terrified filly now shuddering under the vicious crack of the sellers whip as she runs back and forth with nowhere to go. The well attired man sends a text to his well-heeled buddies to take the gamble on the colt upon which he’s laid his thousands. At the same moment the tired lady places a post on Facebook to her friends begging for money, if she just had enough she can save the gallant gray filly. The filly, it’s in her eyes, she has fire, and she deserves a chance. The whip cracks again and the scared filly runs.

A busy café in downtown Manhattan. The place to see and be seen. Two wealthy businessmen dine on filet mignon, sucking down gin and tonics. They both grasp their phones as the incoming texts vibrate the table. Their well attired boss at the Derby just gave them a line on a horse encouraging them to place a wager. The waitress at the bar, waiting on another round of gin & tonics, cringes at their stares and checks her phone. She sees the post, a wild eyed gray filly scared to death, in a kill pen in Montana, a lady she’s never met, but has followed her threads needs money. She’s trying to save the starved terrified filly. She loads the drinks on the tray and heads back to the businessmen. They are not so busy texting that they forget to ogle her. She smiles to herself, here you go girl, maybe I won’t ever run free, but by God in Heaven, you will. She smiles at them and leans in close as she serves their libations. She cannot stand their eyes upon her, nothing more than an item for their play, but she sees the filly spinning in the kill lot, hears the crack of the whip and decides her path. The men smile as their phones go off once again, the well attired man informs them of the windfall. The bet he made on the horse by simply the name of the dam had paid off. They smiled, polished off their drinks, asked for her number which she gave and left her a more than generous tip. In busy café in downtown Manhattan a waitress makes a call.

The lady at the sale barn cold and exhausted raises her hand, offering her last dollars in a final plea to save gray filly terrified for her life. It’s not enough, her world spins. Her phone vibrates, a girl in New York who she’s never met has the balance, and she’s sending it now. She places the bid, the filly turns sharp in the far corner of the pen and crumples to her knees as the whip licks her sweat tendered flesh. Time stands still as the words “Sold” echo across the pen. They did it, one tired lady, one fed up waitress and somewhere unbeknownst to him, a well attired man, saved a filly to run free another day. Oh but did you hear? Instagram sensation Lula broke a seventeen thousand dollar heel coming back from the paddocks and had a wardrobe malfunction.

So what have they done to our Derby? But more than that, what have they done to our horses and to us? In any case a well-dressed Billionaire has just decided to go into the horse business deciding to follow a certain mare’s bloodline. A waitress in Manhattan has just packed her car, picked up her last check and is rolling for Montana. One exhausted lady is kicked back in her pick up eating the last can of Vienna Sausages with a tired gray filly munching hay happily in her two horse trailer and damn they taste good. The woman with more names than a Hanoverian stud? She doesn’t give a crap, but hey neither do we.

Fate

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

 

Sunday

15542242_1175669282508697_19323394511053998_n

It was one of the last of the days of the shortening light. A grey misty December afternoon where the light was fading all too soon and the blustery winds of winter swept in across the valley. A lone Hawk perched high in the naked limbs of a weather stripped tree calls out to his kindred across the expanse of openness that is the fields. Fields that will glow emerald when the sun returns to the land and the hours of light overflow the hours of dark. For now I am content to sit on the back of my winter coated horse and watch the meanderings of the foraging birds. Allowing the last of the darkening days to feed my soul, to allow me to gain peace, for one must embrace the darkness to savor the light.   A scent of wood smoke from a distant hearth drifts on the breeze, in my mind’s eye I can visualize the glowing embers and the warmth of a family gathered round. A peace that is the cawing of the crow, the rustling of the birds and whisper of winds through the pines provides solace to my ever turbulent thoughts. This could be a vision from a medieval time hundreds of years ago, or the view from the first farmers of these gentle fields, but today it was simply those of a woman escaping the hectic pace of her century. This is my time, my space. Wicked, wild and untamable. Nature’s realm.  Here I draw my strength. An immortal reckoning that has sustained those of my kindred for more than a millennia, longer than time has been tracked by the fastidious records of man.

15590523_1175668349175457_7497328688060701101_n

The raw power of the beast between my legs gives me wings to fly. An animal so strong he could kill me without a second thought. Yet a creature of the wilds as well, who chooses to be my accomplice as opposed to my opponent. For it seems, when we choose run the grasslands and hillsides, our beings feed on each other’s joy and reckless abandon. We tempt the fates over the fences that block our paths and hinder our flight. We dance through the mists all powerful and in an ecstasy of unity that few can comprehend. I am his sustenance and he is my light. Woman and equine, the rawness of the life giver who must abandon fear of pain to do her duty and the nobility of the steed that carries her so gallantly in a unity of power and mind. Yes tomorrow the world awaits. But the time is now to savor that from which I will draw my solace when the days in the pulsating chaos of the city become tenuous. When the noise of the dissatisfied masses reaches a crescendo, I will allow myself to detach and revisit that oxer that seemed so incredibly high, yet my companion and I cleared  with such ease. Take my mind to that moment midflight when we both cared not if we if landed at all, the freedom of being untied to earth an elixir we drank uncaring if it destroyed us in the end. Such experiences allow one to defy fear and silence the sounds of things we care not to have visited upon on our being. The ability to simply leap and fly to the other side of the miasma and move on.

15621994_1175668319175460_3352445607527510389_n

Oh yes, in few hours I’ll be back in my car in the endless blood red river of taillights that takes me in to the city. I’ll turn on my computer and see the ruminations of my likeminded sisters all over this great land who’ve done the same as myself. Photos of rocky ravines negotiated, snowy fields raced across and mountain vistas viewed. Fences that were too high, yet sailed anyway. Streams too flood swollen, but swum anyway. Speeds far too fast, yet galloped anyway. Horses still green to the rider, ridden anyway. Oh yes, the glove snug jeans will be shed, boots will be left in the entry way, and tomorrows business outfit of choice will be assembled. But when morning breaks and  we amble out the door into the world of commerce, I’m quite certain we will all give a wistful gaze to the crumpled jeans and the barn muddied boots. This weekend in the pastures was sweet fiery mead to our wild essence, but Monday morning will be strong black coffee to our fiery spirits. So we will jump the worlds fences far too high, swim the world’s streams far too swollen and run through the week way too fast. But come dawn Saturday that Hawk is going to call, those winds are going to whip and I like many are going to once again eschew the cement world and ride the open expanse that is the breath to our once again pounding heart.