Last August a whole gang of fun, typically far-flung families on my wife’s side gathered to reunion in spectacular Wyoming. I was an out-law who lives for the ocean and our short New England sailing season. I had never.. ever… even been on a horse much less ridden up hills and through streams. I thought, well, I’ll give it a try but prepared to read more than usual in what I knew would be beautiful country.
You can guess the rest — we rode horses every day and loved the openness, the smell of the earth, the crisp winds and the occasional cool raindrop. We felt grateful to be open enough to love it, even embracing the challenge of getting my horse, Bear, to walk in equal proportion to chomping grass. Who knew Bear would be so good for my triceps.
In music, there are beats per measure and tempo to set the mood. The calendar has the same power over me and mid-August brings me to a wistful place. We’re relaxed from the summer’s warmth but also pensive and excited about the demands of the coming season. We long to go backward and forward all at once.
The first day at the ranch we were told that we would be asked to contribute a short poem or song at the final campfire. It feels like a good mid-August thing to share it.
Cowboys and Sailors
Daybreak had barely broken, safety talk just complete
Piper threw out the challenge, Cowboy poetry was Friday’s treat
Oh great, I sighed, another test, didn’t we come here to relax?
I’ll have to ride Bear up the mountain, then make the verses poetically wax;
Now, I’m a sailor not a cowboy, I think that’s plain to see
I ride horses in foul weather gear, giddy up and hard -a- lee!
But high up on the Mesa, where the breezy silence sings
You trade yesterdays and tomorrows for a moment…and it’s the moment that gives you wings;
I’ll miss Elvis, the Brits, even Bear,
I’ll miss the blues, grays and purpely greens
Cool mornings, kick-the-can evenings,
Halbys, Schaefers and cousins in between;
And I think sailors and cowboys are alike much more than not,
A weather eye, a ready knife, and a clove hitch in a tricky spot
And we both seek the far horizon, where the open wild beckons
One rides, the other sails toward it, we’ll meet there again someday I reckon