Rotten snow and dirt on the road below the ranch. The forecast says it’s far from over. The white expanse of pasture before me confirms. Looks like winter, feels like spring. Chicks in a box by the wood stove in our cabin making spring sounds, and the first robin on the open hill above the Rio.
Single digits when I wake and watch the passing of a magenta sky. A pink face on an otherwise white mountain peak outside my cabin window. Chances are it will be fifty degrees warmer by mid afternoon.
The boys are still sleeping – so much for new time. Give them another day or two to adjust. Can’t get much done in the dark anyway. Time carries little meaning here.
With fat parka and heavy boots I head out to feed the horses. They count on my coming to feed by light in the sky. I see them lined up along the fence, ready. Calmer now in the end of winter warming air. They lie in the deep wet snow mid day and sleep with the soothing of the sun. They are ready for solid ground and shedding. They’re ready for attention and a good trim. They’re ready to work, as I am ready to ride, and still we both must wait.
I remember the frogs in March under the willow tree on Barn Hill where it only barely froze and very rarely could Forrest sled down fresh snow in the early mornings before the NorCal mildness would melt it off by noon. I could hear them at night when I stepped out to smoke. Living now at ten thousand feet (and I’d like to say wisdom comes with age, but there are enough young readers out there who will be quick to tell me otherwise) I haven’t smoked in years. (Yes, that’s a good sign when you no longer know how many years without thinking long and hard.) Now I make an effort to go out with the dog every night, crunch over the snow up the little hill behind the cabin and stand at the edge of the trees while the dog waits for me, watches over while I do what appears to be nothing at all. I look up at the stars and listen. So deep, still and silent here.
A land as infinite as the stars, it seems at night.
And as quickly as
and I am left
to wonder, why.
In my dreams I am
waking wide eyed
short of breath
and gasping and
then just like that
it is gone.
And I dance under the starry night skies once again.