This was originally published 6/7/2015.
“We were walkin’ in high cotton, old times there are not forgotten, those fertile fields are never far away
We were walkin’ in high cotton, old times there are not forgotten; Leavin’ home was the hardest thing we ever faced” Alabama, “High Cotton”
Those few lines from an old song say a lot about the truth about growing up in the country. Growing up in a home full of love, being raised by parents that worked hard to provide for their family, definately builds strong roots. And honestly, looking back on things now, leaving home really was the scariest thing I ever faced as a ranch kid, besides crotchety bulls and the occasional run-in with wild animals.
The older I get, and the more things change, the more I yearn for time to slow down. Sometimes I just want to be a kid again; I realize now how much I took my childhood for granted. I see things differently now than I did even ten years ago, and it makes me realize why it is so important for my own children to be involved in our family ranch. I also know, too, that no matter how far displaced from ranch life I feel, you can take the girl out of the country; but you can’t take the country out of the girl.
A few days spent horseback behind a bunch of cows on rare weekends has replaced daily rides spent on my four-legged equine partner. Even though they are few and far between, I love those days. As soon as my butt plops into my saddle, I can literally feel all the annoying stuff– the stress of my “city job”, the frustration that comes from raising two overly dramatic daughters, the anxiety of impending changes– melt off of me and I feel like I can breathe again. Laughter from good friends, the random whinny from a meat-head horse, and the sounds of moving cattle replace the phones, idle chit-chat, and noise from the office. Meadow flowers and fresh air replace the stench of burnt coffee and too-sweet donuts. Sunshine replaces high-beam florescent lights and the knot between my shoulders begins to relax. It is in this stretch of time, spent mounted and away from the rest of the world, that my soul comes alive. In this way, I realize that my life is full and my heart is happy.
We all walk to the beat of our own drums. I hope that you all find something that brings you peace; something that helps make your soul come alive and your heart sing. Life is too short not to take long way home.
May all your fields be filled with healthy crops, healthy livestock, and pride in a life well lived.