Monday, April 2, 2012

Landscape of Dreams

I have a question for you. Most of the time when I dream, the landscape is the same. The people, the situations, even the themes of the dreams are often widely varied, but almost 75% of the time, the landscape is the same. My dreams are all set in the same place, on the ranch I grew up on in southeastern Oregon, in the Owyhee High Mountains.

Does this happen to everyone? Or is it just me? My husband never remembers his dreams and often teases me for my wildly creative dreams that stick with me throughout the day. (Last night I didn't dream of the Owyhee (pronounce Oh-Why-He, not Hawaii) landscape, but I dreamed of my office, working with grouchy students. Oh well. Dreaming about the old ranch is much nicer.

Which made me dig in my picture archives to find these pictures. We went to round up cattle one weekend the summer of 2003 (which is why you should always date your picture files, so you can remember things like this). Here's a picture of my dad, catching his horse to ride.

The sentimental, homesick part of my heart squeezes painfully as I glimpse the willows through the old wooden corral fence. My brother and I were always in those willows behind the house, playing cops and robbers, or cowboys and Indians (we weren't very politically correct).

Once the horses were caught and saddled, we loaded them in the horse trailer and hauled them six miles west, across the highway to the other ranch headquarters on the Hot Springs Creek. We unloaded and got ready for the long ride across the flat. Notice the border collie, Bingo, below and how impatient he looks, ready for the trail?
Though I have bad memories of this field (I'll write more about the time I was bucked off my horse in the middle of this huge field and then had to walk eight miles behind the cows until I reached the horse trailer on the other side, another time) today was a pretty simple ride. We scoured the land for cattle, and usually, once they saw us coming, they knew that it was time to move on to another field, with fresh grass.

Below is a picture of the cows lining out, politely trailing towards the gate at the far end of the field. My Cousin Cody, poses for this picture below. All is right with the world, the sky is blue, the air clear and clean, the sagebrush had that lovely smell, the grass is... well this is a salt flat, its definitely not green, but a pale golden yellow that the cows love. It's a good day.
And then, just when everything looks too good to be true, something goes wrong. Occasionally, a cow will have a problem, either they wake up on the wrong side of the sagebrush or they are just mean, but one cow decided that even though her friends were all going one way, she wanted to stay with her calf and go another direction.

Everything irritated that cow, she would put her head down and charge the dogs if they got too close, she'd try to hit the horses with her strong head, she would constantly zig and zag, and turn around, often almost stepping on her own calf, causing him to stumble and dodge his momma. Before we could reach the other end, with just a half of a mile before the gate, the poor little calf's legs crumbled, and he laid down, too exhausted to go another step.

But cowboys are not to be deterred. Knowing this irritating cow would most likely not stay with her calf and follow her friends, or run back the other direction, my Cousin Cody intervened. He handed me the reins of his horse, jumped off and ran to the calf, picking up the 100 pound animal with ease and took off running towards the gate, the momma cow hot on his heels.
Well, not exactly hot on his heels.

My dad saw Cody's plan, so he roped the cow to keep her from running Cody over.

(Which has happened on more than one occasion, to Cody and myself.)

If you see below, the arrow where Cody is running towards is the gate, and the other red arrow shows the rope holding the cow back.
The ride turned out successful, once the baby calf was deposited inside the fence of the new field, we released the rope on the cow, and both momma and calf were happily reunited, in the new field. The calf didn't want to be carried again, so he hopped up and they both happily made their way to the water trough.

Sad... I wish I could go out and catch my horse and take a ride. I guess I'll just have to wait until tonight, and pray that I dream about the ranch tonight, where my horse and I will once again ride over the rolling plains full of sagebrush.


Allie said...

That'll teach that momma cow!

Ashley Campbell said...

Wow Amy, you are amazing. Awesome blog. I truly am inspired and so grateful to know you.

Liz said...

I loved this post. It made me feel like I did something, went somewhere other than my desk. Thanks. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...