Back in Bigness


driving back home


aspen early spring


I wanted to be home before the full moon.  I was thinking about riding horseback in moonlight.  I forgot how cold it is here. After dark, I’m happy to be home by the woodstove.  Afternoon siestas in the sand by the river seem very far away right now.  About 5,600 miles away.

Travelling takes over a week. The “goodbyes” take longer.  The “welcome homes” aren’t enough.  Culture shock.  I am learning this.  It’s not as hard leaving when you know you’ll be back.


rosa and ranquilco


last light on the rio trocoman


Between here and there. It starts horseback. Leaving “our” home along the Rio Trocoman.  Between here and there is a long and fast car ride across Argentina, followed by a day of walking the dog through the crowds of downtown Buenos Aires.  There is a beer at an outdoor café. There is mate and malbec in the courtyard.  There is the refresher course in Texas hospitality, and something more about good friends.  There is Wal-Mart.   Biggie size it.  Bigger is better.  Consumerism and convenience.  Channel surfing from the king size bed of the hotel room.   Bombarded with commercials, violence, terrorism, and how to build an assault rifle in your back yard.  Just what I need.  Welcome home.


pedro and jorge


jorge ginny and me


One of these days I’ll share the details.  Recommendations and tips. Where to stay in Buenos Aires, the best way to get across Argentina, and what it’s like to travel with a dog. Boring but necessary.  Cold hard facts. Another time.

For now I want soft and warm.  Home.  I want to stop worrying about paying three times as much for a bottle of bad wine, and wishing there was goat meat hanging in the shade and remembering simple smiles instead of complicated family bullshit.  For now, I want to be in the sun.  This sun.  The here and now sun. The intense sun roasting my cheeks and forehead, the only skin exposed in the still cold wind on the deck of our home at 10,000 feet in the mountains of Southern Colorado. I guess this is the same sun that’s already dried up the run off creeks and parched the pasture and it’s only April.  But it’s my sun.  The same sun, like the same moon.  Seen from a different perspective.

I thought maybe it’s just me.  It’s not.  It’s him too.  Bob spends his evenings on Google Earth, seeing where we have been. Where we will be. He shows me, a digitized image on the computer screen.  It almost hurts to see it now.

Being home.  There is my river.  My horses.  My bed and my bathtub.  There are the familiar sounds of robins, Steller’s Jays and crows out on the field.  The metallic zipping sound announcing the early arrival of a hummingbird. There is the smell of cedar burning and bacon frying and the familiar scent of my favorite mare. There are my trails, trails we found and forged, for us to ride and clear in the softer orange light of early evening when the spring wind slows and the porch door is left open and firewood is brought in and stacked in preparation for the cold night.

Un American?  I had a good excuse.  No electricity.  No internet. No motors.  No town.  Now I’ve got it all.  Too comfortable. I haven’t been on Facebook in how many months.  I have little to say, to share.  I’m sorry.  I am self absorbed.  I know it’s selfish.  I take a quick peak this morning and quickly sign off.  It’s scary.  On my wall is a picture of a mate gourd.  Thank you, Amy.  I should have known how much you would understand.  There is nothing else I need to see.  Nothing I care to share.  I feel somehow lost.  Lost in my own home.  Funny it should be so aptly named.  Lost Trail Ranch.


mate on the rocks


thank you jorge for the gift of your mate gourd


Writing, reflection, soaking.  That’s what I’m doing now.  As I remind Ginny, legend has it that Hemingway had to move to Paris before he could write about Michigan.  Presumptuous to compare myself to him.  If not my self, then my situation.  I need the distance.  I need to be away to see.  I need to look inside now, not just in front of me.  I cannot keep up with the stories that want to be written.  Words flow like blood from a slaughtered goat.

Healing.  Heal myself.  Simple wounds.  We are all built of flesh and blood.  From time to time, we all must bleed.  The earth heals me.  Here, there.  Here, I go for a walk.  To the other side of the bridge we built together. I cannot cross.  Snow on the other side.  The dog falls in to his belly.  Moose droppings and tracks and what looks like a big round spot where he may have lay in the last of the snow, holding fast on the north facing slope along the Rio Grande.

And wasn’t the sun to my north just a few days ago?


happy to be home




I remind myself there is no place I would rather be.  Here and now.  Yesterday and tomorrow are different stories.  Stories to write about.

Now the dog gets up from his warm place in the middle of the bridge, on guard above me as I sit in the dirt of the little island with my notebook on my lap.  He barks in a non-committal way.  He wants my attention.  We make eye contact.  He looks up the hill.  I know what he is thinking.  It’s time to get up there.  Get back to the horses.  Back to work.  His work.  Guard duty.  He has been wonderful.  Putting up with me dragging him to the other side of the world. Now he’s home.  His home.  His herd.  He is happy.  I should be too.


cody karen willie




8 thoughts on “Back in Bigness

  1. Wow Gin. I am left to wonder if, given the same circumstances, I would be overjoyed to be back to the net, electricity and Walmart? You’ve made me ponder my love of all things convenience. I considered Lost Trail Ranch roughing it because I didn’t use my blow dryer!
    Thank you for sharing the journey. I adore your heart, your dog, and your yearning for a different life.
    God Bless.
    Penney Moore

  2. Welcome home Gin. We loved Patagonia two years ago on our OAT adventure. It’s a little more boring around here, but we’re going to Iceland and Greenland with OAT in June. To keep from getting bored, I continue to feed my weekly blog. I currently have a two part scary story “A Night in Dudleytown” posted at Check it out.

  3. I have to admit, I was a little surprised opening my email and seeing a blog post from you, my first thought, “how did she do it?” immediately followed by “oh yes, they’re back now!” I guess I got a little accustomed to being your link to the outside world! And I was happy to be able to help but selfishly glad you are back and closer to reach…funny how now, to me, you no longer seem as remote as you did before at the ranch, sounds like to you feel that way, too. Your photographs are wonderful and I so love seeing the photo of Gunnar and Cody focusing together on a common goal! And love the one of me and my four-legged boys! Thank you for that.

    Love the photos of you, Ginny and Jorge, Bob and Gunnar on the deck and Gunnar obviously enjoying “his” couch! Oh and saw the title 3 times before I realized it said “Bigness” not “Business”! Nice play on words and very appropriate.

    Welcome Back! (I won’t say home because we both know “home” is wherever we want it to be, I suppose it can be everywhere or nowhere, it’s our choice.)

    “From time to time, we all must bleed.”
    This reminds me of a song by Ronnie Dunn of which the lyrics and melody, I love and I think you may relate to them as well:
    “Bleed Red”

    “Let’s say were sorry, before it’s too late, give forgiveness a chance
    Turn the anger into water; let it slip through our hands
    We all bleed red, we all taste rain, all fall down, lose our way,
    We all say words we regret, we all cry tears, we all bleed red

    If we’re fighting, we’re both losing; we’re just wasting our time
    Because my scars, they are your scars and your world is mine
    You and I, we all bleed red, we all taste rain, all fall down, lose our way
    We all say words, we regret, we all cry tears, we all bleed red
    Sometimes we’re strong, sometimes we’re weak, sometimes we’re hurt and it cuts deep
    We live this life, breath to breath, we’re all the same; we all bleed red”

  4. Ginny! It is so nice to hear from you. To read your words. And comforting, too…. Your heart-filled reverse culture shock is SO NORMAL and makes me remember mine. It took me so much longer than I thought or expected to reincorporate myself into my homeland after returning from being abroad. It felt so strange to me as well, and the words “should should should” would never stop. I encourage you to simply be, and allow yourself the patience of transition. When I left Buenos Aires, I remember being home after a long journey, but a journey that didn’t feel long enough. Like my physical body was in my home, with my family, but my soul still existed on those hot streets of that lively city. Strangest feeling.
    Take care, take your time, take peace. I look forward to sharing a mate together sometime in the future. What a beautiful practice of communion that mate is, isn’t it?

  5. It’s confusing when love gnaws at both sides of the soul. The only salve I’ve found is time. (I still have heartwaves over South Africa – 3 years later.)

    Our N. American consumerism is wrenching after being in simplicity, cloistered and unexposed. Each time I leave my island, I feel my nose is rubbed in waste, tripe and the trivial.

    When I have to face it, I feel out of some natural womb. Recently, I had to hit the core of Victoria. A whole new system of parking meters has been installed. I had to ask a store clerk how they worked. She sighed and looked at me with impatience, “I’ll take you outside and SHOW you.”

    I learned it didn’t matter where the hell I parked – any meter accepts my money even if the car sits in some obscure and forgotten location – awaiting my return. Pluses and minuses, but all about serving the City.

    Surprisingly, they actually accepted coin along with anything else that connects to my bank account.

    I thanked “Ms. Huff” and added, “It’s such a challenge having staff and seldom being allowed my own shopping trips.”

    I don’t care what she thought…it’s wonderful being older and not caring!.

  6. I’m not being a good blogger and I am sorry. My responses are stuck in my head and not making their way through my hand to the keyboard. Would you believe me if I said it’s not that I don’t care, for I do. I just don’t always know what to say. Hang in there with me. I can learn.

  7. Welcome back, Gin. It’s been absolutely fascinating to read about your adventures. Thank you for sharing. What a great place you went to, and what wonderful people. There are lessons in all that simplicity, and in the positive attitude of your host.

    I’d been meaning to ask about those huge berets in the pictures. Are they just for riders, or a folk custom?

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