A Ranch

June 22, 2010

I’ve been thinking about Julie lately. Thinking about the choice she made to go with love and her gut and start a ranch with her husband. I conjure the stark image from Giant, that huge house out on the range. Then I scale it down and modernize it. No, it’s not that bleak, but the isolation and struggle is tangible through communication dependent on internet magic.

I hear about the storms sweeping their cattle country landscape. I hear the humor after the fearful evenings spent in the closet, waiting out the tornado warnings. I hear the love and dedication.

I hear about the strange noises and odd happenings that punctuate Julie’s days and nights, and the somebody-else’s-life strangeness she feels at times when an everyday conversation with her husband will include both dinner plans and cow afterbirth. “Is this normal?,” she asks.

I hear about the loss of a cattle lease and unscrupulous landowners. About how her husband, Paul, throws himself, heart first, into his work, believing that it will pay off. About how he blames himself for not reporting the loss of cattle sooner. It was easier to believe that the animals would stray than it was to believe that people would steal. 

I hear how Paul doubts his own good heart, and it breaks my cynical one. I hear in his strong wife’s words the desire to make it better for him, and how sometimes all they can do is ride the adventure out and hold on to each other as they live on the knife-edge of uncertainty.

One day, Paul passed something moving on the edge of the rutted road. A puppy. His heart leapt to his throat. Had he run it over? He pulled the truck to a stop and ran out. No, he hadn’t. There it was. Not fine, but not run over. He took the tiny, scabby, emaciated creature home to Julie, who set about gently nursing it to health.

I think about that pup. He’s another mouth to feed. They thought they couldn’t keep him, and maybe they won’t; but somehow he now has a name. Petey. I think about that pup, growing to its full doggy glory, and I see, in microcosm, what ferocity of heart can do.

A nice thing… success, measured in units of kind and careful tenacity.

5 Responses to “A Ranch”

  1. Julie said

    A friend as lovely and thoughtful as you – a nice thing. (Well, a glorious, GRAND, thank my lucky stars thing.)

  2. Geoff Woollacott said

    >>success, measured in units of kind and careful tenacity.<<

    I have to still this for future use.

  3. Mary-Ellen said

    Sometimes “a nice thing” just give me goosebumps.

  4. Collie said

    you are a story poet, you

  5. Dale said

    An inspiring post. Let’s hear it for tenacity.

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