Friday, January 25, 2013

Dreams of the Ranch

Last night I dreamt of the ranch.

I get a little misty eyed just thinking about the old ranch in McDermitt, the Ten Mile Ranch, LLC on Ten Mile Creek in south eastern Oregon. I haven't lived on the ranch since my junior year of college, and my parents sold the ranch Fall of 2002. Even though its been a while I can close my eyes and see the arid landscape etched in my mind.

I remember riding my horse across the meadow just west of the house, a place I walked and rode so often that it is home. After the thaw the ground in the meadow would have spring, the soil soft and wet with water, and as my horse and I raced along, it felt as if we bounced, throwing up clods of soil in our wake. I feel bad just writing that, since I know that my dad would have yelled if he new I rode across the meadow when it was wet, as I caused ruts or damaged the new grass growing. Later in the year, after we mowed the meadow hay, the grass was golden and looked as soft as cotton. During winter, the snow would glisten like a million crystals and my horse and I would write our names in huge letters across the fields.

For some reason I always tried to memorize exactly how the mountains looked or the meadow, as in the back of my mind I knew it was not permanent. I imagined traveling the world and having to describe my home to strangers. It's gold, I would say to myself. All sorts of golds and browns, and the mountains purple. The sky was always impossibly blue, not clouded or dimmed by pollution, but marked only by the scarce clouds carrying moisture, or more often by jet streams from planes racing miles above the ground. In the spring, the greens of the meadows were so bright they almost hurt one's eyes, and so intense that we knew the green wouldn't remain long. The wildflowers, exotic reds and pinks of the Indian Paintbrush hiding in the rocky sagebrush covered hills contrasted with the timid purples and blues of the wild iris and lupine in the meadows.

But last night I did not dream of flowers. I dreamt of fall, of the colors of the changing leaves on the willow trees. I dreamt of running in the mares off the mountain where they had spent the spring and summer getting fat off of high mountain grass. The foals by the mares sides were timid, afraid of the new smells and sights of people and houses. They were born out on the mountain, allowed to run wild and free with their mothers over the sharp lava rocks that would ensure them to be sure footed and nimble as they grew. I dreamt of the colts, of their dainty ears and their hair soft curly. Their eyes were dark brown, almost black, and gazed at everything with curiosity and intelligence. Once weaned, the colts would spend the first few weeks isolated from one another in individual pens, as we broke them to halter, to become used to humans and touch. I would spend hours with the colts in the fall, talking to them, petting them all over, lifting their feet, grooming them, and trying to gently the wildness out of each.

While I played and petted the colts I used to dream of my life as a grown up, dream of the places I'd visit, dream of the people I'd meet. I wonder now, if that is why I dreamed last night. Is that why I dreamt of colts when I am now a grown up, and instead of dreaming of the future, at night I just dream of the ranch?

1 comment :

Fort Western Stores said...

The memories of your home ranch are beautiful. It sounds like an incredible place!

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