Way Out Here in Texas

photoOld Hands

Been out in weeds, in the way-back forty,

Tumbling along by the dry mesquite,

Rambling and ambling the afternoon by

With nary a stop to rest or eat

This is the way the daytime passes,

Angus at left, longhorns to the right,

A couple of dogs at our heels to steer them

Until we whistle them in at night

Some things change on the range with passing

Time and tide and the phase of moon,

With years and advances and techno-wonders,

But none of this here’s like to change so soon,

And why should it do? We still will mosey

And saunter our way through the rolling plain

As long as the longhorns and the Angus

And we need to too, we’ll all remainphoto

Another Pastorale

Yesterday after running errands, we were reluctant to head directly home and do serious Work on a sunny Saturday afternoon, so first we took a couple of brief driving detours into the surrounding ranch-lands and enjoyed a uniquely lush and verdant north Texas spring outing, luxuriating in the marvels of denser woodlands, fuller runoff creeks and richer grasslands than we’ve yet seen since moving down here. Needless to say, we are reveling in the wealth of meadow and pastureland in the surrounding counties, as are all of the horse and cattle herds that didn’t get sold off or butchered outright to evade starvation and thirst in last year’s drought. It’s a beautiful prospect, this well-watered magic we have right now, and inspires the poetic in one’s spirit no matter how it defies other work.mixed media + text

Spring Pastures

Far back among the rolling hills, Where prairie grasses sweep and bow

And the sweet wildflower spills Pour down the slope, the Angus cow

Set farthest back along the line Draws up her calf to join the herd,

Slow-swaying, toward a stand of pine; The rancher there, without a word,

Appears to bring an evening feed, And all the cattle on the clock

That balances content with need, Some time before, began this walk . . .

The faintest glint of sidelong rays Begins to tint the brush with gold

The way late Spring colors her days, As if instead of growing old

She’s only burnishing her tone The more to show her graciousness,

Inviting birds that fly alone To join a choir whose notes confess

A radiant love of living things, Of all that’s sweet and warm and new,

Of leggy calves, of seed that brings That grass now banking up the slough . . .

The cattle walk, now, in their line, Their black flanks shaded in the dusk

With blue-tinged shadows, as a fine Light scent arises like a musk

From all their footsteps tapped in clay, Veils of the thinnest dust laid low

Between the sorghum rows’ array And that tall hayfield yet to mow,

And not one calf among them all Drifts off the center of the trail,

Because they sense their supper-call As sure as seasons never fail . . .