Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mountains

I left the office mid-morning to do some range checks in the mountains.  My second day working solo and my first time to this allotment.  Little did I know I was in for a real treat.

I work in the forest everyday, but this wasn't typical country.  I was up over 10,000 feet and very near treeline.  Gamble Oak ceased to be the main vegetation cover and more and more fir's lined the road.  It was cool and the wind was blowing a fierce storm towards the peaks.  I had made a couple stops when I explored around a spring some.  I knew I was close to the point I needed to find, but I couldn't see it anywhere.  During said search I didn't feel like I was at work at all.  I wandered silently along a cow trail and spied a deer, I wasn't obtrusive in any way and even though it's bow season she didn't give a care.  I came upon a meadow, the grass was still wet with morning dew and it was wonderfully quiet.  Quiet in the way lonely mountains are.  There was no incessant babbling, no clomp of others footsteps, no roar of an engine.  There was just me in this calm and serene place, the only sound coming from the whispering of the wind through the quakies.  It did wonders for my soul!

I continued to climb into avalanche territory, which is just phenomenal to me.  There were several hunting camps along the way but the feel was just different.  The weather played a big role in this as well.  There's something fantastic about the calm before the storm.  The last place I checked was another meadow sloping down into a spring.  If I didn't turn around and look at the bald peak behind me I could almost imagine I was back home.  Walking around in country as familiar to me as any.  It was beautiful and the grass, oh the grass!  Who knew so much grass could grow in the South West?!

As I headed to my next point I came across a rancher on a big buckskin paint, his little Border Collie Pug right behind him.  I'd only met him once before but we had a nice chat, we left each other with well wishes and a hope of staying dry.  Less than 10 minutes later it started to sprinkle, followed by flashes of lightning.  I headed back to my pickup with no wish of being struck. My next route was a rough one, barely good enough to drive a pickup.  By the time I arrived the rain was coming down in torrents.  With my windows up the thunder still crashed with incredible sound.  I've never been that close to the sky when it broke open.  A part of me wished I didn't have such great cover, that I was out in the open and could really watch the show above.  It was magnificent and with wipers on high I reluctantly turned around and left.  I didn't feel confident enough to try and risk the road that appeared to be little more than a trail in such a storm. I can't wait to go back and finish.  Next time though I hope to check the last section a horseback.  To be able to ride in country such as that is a dream.







XO Loves,


Me

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Ballad of Ira Hays

This is one of Johnny Cash's songs from his album Bitter Tears that was released in 1964.  I've always really liked it, but it's not one you hear very often if at all.  Which is just my kind of song.  Ira Hays was one of five Marines and a Navy Corpsman who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi in WWII, only three of these men left that hill.  When I was 13 I had the fortune of seeing this bronze statue in Washington D.C.  Here's a great VIDEO of the song that also gives more information.

"The Ballad Of Ira Hayes"


Ira Hayes,
Ira Hayes

[CHORUS:]
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Gather round me people there's a story I would tell
About a brave young Indian you should remember well
From the land of the Pima Indian
A proud and noble band
Who farmed the Phoenix valley in Arizona land

Down the ditches for a thousand years
The water grew Ira's peoples' crops
'Till the white man stole the water rights
And the sparklin' water stopped

Now Ira's folks were hungry
And their land grew crops of weeds
When war came, Ira volunteered
And forgot the white man's greed

[CHORUS:]
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

There they battled up Iwo Jima's hill,
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty-seven lived to walk back down again

And when the fight was over
And when Old Glory raised
Among the men who held it high
Was the Indian, Ira Hayes

[CHORUS:]
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Ira returned a hero
Celebrated through the land
He was wined and speeched and honored; Everybody shook his hand

But he was just a Pima Indian
No water, no crops, no chance
At home nobody cared what Ira'd done
And when did the Indians dance

[CHORUS:]
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Then Ira started drinkin' hard;
Jail was often his home
They'd let him raise the flag and lower it
like you'd throw a dog a bone!

He died drunk one mornin'
Alone in the land he fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
Was a grave for Ira Hayes

[CHORUS:]
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes
But his land is just as dry
And his ghost is lyin' thirsty
In the ditch where Ira died





XO Loves,

Me

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Running Away

In the last couple of years I've gone through some major life changes.  I've hit rock bottom and thought for the longest time that I'd never rise above it all.  Somewhere along the line though I grew up and before I knew it I'd changed.  I found myself again and with strong determination I found my path as well.  I haven't looked back and I can honestly say that there's very little in life I've ever regretted. 
I've worked hard to overcome my demons.  I'm much stronger and self assured than I was even two years ago.  I tried to forget, I tried crying it out, tried drinking the pain away, talked with a counselor and even tried outrunning the memories.  But here I am, 1,000 miles away from all the pain that I've ever endured and I'm forced to face it all again. 
Facebook is a gift and a curse.  I have very little cell service at my house and during the day I usually have none at all.  Thankfully I'm not on Facebook very often.  However, the last couple of weeks I've come face to face with names through friends that cause an immediate unwanted reaction.  It doesn't matter how many years have gone by,  even the simple mention of their names causes my heart to race and I falter between being angry and deeply sad.  It's worse at night because then my subconscious is left to deal with the heartache and pain, which usually leaves me exhausted and totally unsettled the next morning. 
I wish I was stronger.  I wish I could hear their names and see their pictures and feel nothing.  I wish I could be a cold hearted, uncaring, unemotional woman who has completely left her past behind her.  Try as I may I'll always be too emotional.  I'll always care too much and I'll always end up hurt.  Hiding out here in the desert where the deer population outnumbers the human sounds better and better.  They say time heals all wounds, but even the oldest of my wounds still slows me down. 
I'd have to say my favorite flower is cactus.  They are the true beauties of the desert, growing in otherwise impossible conditions.  They hold out until they have all they need then they grow the most beautiful flower.  Something so beautiful you wouldn't think you'd see it growing in sand where very little rain falls.  They're almost inspiring.  They make me feel like no matter how impossible life gets or how I feel that at some point I'll have all I'll need.  Someday I can grow into that beautiful flower and all will be right within my soul.  I dream and pray for that day.




XO Loves,

Me

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Cremation of Sam McGee

This is one of my favorite poems by Robert Service.  He's one of my papa's favorite authors and we grew up listening to him read some of his favorites.  Just about every winter we get a storm that wipes out our power and after chores there's very little left to do but read and enjoy family time.  Often times during these cold, blustery evenings my papa would pull out a book and we always asked him to read The Cremation of Sam McGee.  I thought I'd share this little story with all of you just in case you've never had the pleasure.  If you don't feel like reading it, click HERE to listen to Hank Snow read it.  I got off work early today and it seems as though monsoon season has finally arrived.  The sound of pounding rain and the crack of thunder made me think of this story.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

The Cremation of Sam McGee

By Robert W. Service
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell."

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursèd cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead—it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May."
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; ... then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

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XO Loves,


Me

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Cold Looks

The skin on my neck still burns from yesterday's sun as I lay uncomfortably in bed.  The silver moon peeking through the open window.  The air drifts in cool and clear from the recent shower.  1100 miles and a time zone separate me from home.  Behind me I've left family, friends, horses and dogs to pursue a career.  Grand ideas and dreams have led me to this sleepy little town.  On first glance it's beautiful, quaint and even homey.  But one doesn't just ignore the questioning looks, the uncertainty of being a "newcomer".  It's not my first time being an outsider, a new town, a new address.  A few offer tentative smiles, fewer offer introductions.  I can't hear the words but I know what they're saying; "Who is that?", "Why is she here?", "This is our town".  I'm from a small town, and I've lived and worked in others, but this town is different from the others.  It's difficult to respect horsemen who say nothing to a man riding an obviously crippled horse at a competitive event.  Shaking my head in disgust my opinion fell on deaf ears.  The excitement that built upon hearing about said event quickly dissipated in the face of a cold arrival.  I'm not afraid, I'm not about to let the whispers deter me from enjoying what this town has to offer.  Head up, shoulders back I left that arena with a stubborn confidence.  I graduated college looking for a challenge, seems as a simple seasonal I've already found it.  The full moon bathes my room in it's calming and serene light and not for the first time I wish I could bottle up the calmness that it always gives.



XO Loves,

Me

Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm an Ole Song

Here's one of my favorites by Royal Wade Kimes.  This is a truly wonderful, down to earth and genuine man.  My dad first heard his music a couple years ago on XM.  He ordered a few cd's, really liked what he heard and bought them all.  Apparently Wade likes to contact folks who buy his music, get feedback, chat and what have you.  My dad's quite a chatty fellow and they hit it off.  From time to time Wade calls my dad and they chat like long lost friends.  I think it's really neat that they've formed a friendship through a love of music and like mindedness.  I just love Wade's music, he's a lot like a modern day Marty Robbins.  So here's I'm an Ole Song by Royal Wade Kimes.  And here's a link to the video

I'm an ole song just hangin' around
I'm an ole song, wrote in this town
Talk about love, the living of life
I'm an ole song someone had to write

CH.

Talk about love, talk about pain
Talk about sunshine talk about rain
Helped that poor man down his lonely road
You can hear me on your radio
I can take you home, I'm A Ole Song

I'm An Ole Song I can be your freind
Down and out play me again
I'll dry your tears help you with your trials
I'm An Ole Song I can make you smile

Repeat Ch.

Tag

I can take you home I'm An Ole Song
I can take you home I'm An Ole Song

A Touching Story

Today I met an old man.  As kind of a fellow as ever I've met, his brother was the same.  (I may have a soft spot for old guys being as how I no longer have a grandpa of my own.)  These guys live in the town just to the south of us, 1 of only 4 in the county.  Today we helped them string a hot wire fence around a meadow to keep the cows from over grazing it anymore than it was.  I had the luxury of getting to chat with them several times throughout the day.  But as we were wrapping things up I got a truly special treat.

I don't know what caused the man to tell me, a stranger such a special story but I feel so blessed that he felt he could share.  I had caught him on several occasions gazing at the rocky outcropping on the other side of the canyon.  On a trip by with some fence testers he stopped me with an unbelievable tale that brought tears to my eyes.

Somewhere on near 40 years ago, his memory isn't what it used to be, was the year his father was killed.  He was out riding the canyon checking on cows.  He'd been depressed over losing his father and overwhelmed with having inherited the ranch.  The day was incredibly cloudy, the sun completely hidden from view.  When all of a sudden the clouds broke and a ray of sunshine lit on a rock.  There on the rock stood a man in white, his feet not touching anything.  He faced the man on the horse but stood pointing towards home.  The man knew his wife was further down the canyon and rushed to find her so he could show her this miracle.  He watched the man in white all the while.  When he finally reached his wife the sun was gone and so was the man.  In his heart he knew that was his father.

By this time tears were streaming quietly down my face and I couldn't have talked if I'd wanted to.  I couldn't process the enormity of what I had just heard.  How amazing!  When I could finally talk again I told him that must have been an incredibly special moment for him.  That it's unfathomable that people can not believe in anything when you hear stories like that.  I could tell from his expression that that moment was forever seared into his memory.  One final goodbye.  I still get teary eyed thinking about it.

The fact that this man whom I'd only just met felt comfortable enough with me to share something so special cemented within me that I'm doing what I should be doing.  I know we all wish to make a difference in life.  It's my goal to bridge a gap that some see as unattainable.  It could just be my ego, but I think that old man respected me for working right along with the men all day.  I don't have to change the opinions of thousands, but if I can make a change for the positive in a few I've done more than most.


Xo Loves,

Me