Born {Game}

“Baby sister, I was born game, and I intend to go out that way.” ~Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) True Grit

It’s a funny, enlightening, scary and humbling thing to write out a list of things you feel you’re good and bad at. I did this recently. I will tell you, there were direct correlations and similarities between the two contradictions. I realize I’m pretty darn good at drinking coffee until it’s an acceptable time to drink wine. I’m good at laughing at inappropriate things at even more inappropriate times. I’m good at praying on a Sunday and cussing because it’s Monday.

Self awareness comes to us in raw moments in life, and you have the choice to embrace it or put in on the back burner of life and never take a look in depth at the real you.

It’s easy to identify and align yourself with family traits and traditions, and grow up thinking one way your whole life, thinking this is all that’s important to me, this is all I will ever want. But someday, you will realize your life has taken its own course like you just picked up your own reins to your own horse to ride over your own mountain pass. There you sit in the saddle, and how tall and strong and true you sit, matters. You look ahead at the mountains and the picturesque beauty, the blush of new beginnings, the clear mountain streams that bubble from the hillside giving you crisp, clear hopes calling you to dream bigger.

Life twists and turns down the trail; it’s going along status quo, your packs are riding on your mules nice and square, and then, you start chewing on the choices of your life like a piece of sinewy, tough jerky, you just pulled out of your day old lunch from the saddle bags, and you don’t always like the taste. The words of Jesus and the devil play simultaneously in your ear and talk over each other. And there becomes this sudden rush of trying to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong for you, because daylight is burning on this one trip around the sun.

The trail becomes this hot, scorched burn scar and life is baring down on you. I believe in those moments, that’s what you find what you’re really good at. You’re good at being tough and squaring your shoulders. You’re good at following your gut. You’re good at remembering what makes you, you. You realize God has His purpose for you.

You pass a green tree starting to emerge through the ashes next to the trail, and you identify. You realize you can’t see much beauty, but you see traces of what’s to come. And you know it’s just a matter of time before its beauty fills you up again.

Baby sister, you were born game… Hell, ya might as well go out that way.

Happy Trails-

Heather

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{Gone}

Sometimes I get these wild and crazy ideas about stories I’d like to write. I literally have ideas on a continual turntable running through my mind, and I’m terrible about putting them down somewhere when they come to mind. Sometimes inspiration comes from the slightest things- like watching my horse’s mane move on the breeze- sometimes it’s a nostalgic feeling that washes over me remembering the used to be- sometimes, it’s song lyrics- if the truth were told, my mind never really shuts off. So, I decided to put one of those ideas down- it’s just a little quip- a little insight into a story I may or may not someday write- but here it is…

She cracked the heavy oak door open to her modest, old ranch house, and stepped out onto the wrap around porch. The scent of piñon pine and sage wafted in on the early summer night breeze. She watched the last orange and pink rays of the sun warm the high desert mountains before waning into the horizon.

Her eyes drifted to the dirt road and the tail lights leaving. They didn’t pause, he didn’t slow, there was no hesitation. “That’s it,” she thought. She wasn’t sure how she felt yet- she knew it was coming- but in the moment she had no tears to cry, no assuming lump in her throat- because she’d been too damned independent her whole life. At 42, she rather enjoyed her solitude. “It is what it is,” she muttered to herself and let the words float away with the lights. What he didn’t know was he’d be better off in the long run.

She sat a moment in the old rickety rocker on the porch, listening to the creaking of wood on wood, as she pulled a pack of blue American Spirits from her jacket. She lit one up and breathed deep- letting the smoke roll over her. She rarely smoked. But tonight- she didn’t care- she just sat there and blankly stared into the night’s sky. The stars were starting to glow.

From the corral in the distance, she heard him nicker. Her longest friend. She got up from the rocker, took another drag, and strolled over the rocky drive to the corral gate. He walked up to her, and she reached for the familiar silhouette- her old bay friend. She ran her fingers through his mane, took the last long drag on her cigarette, and tossed the butt down, crushing it with her boot heel. She reached for him with her other hand- sunk her forehead into his neck- and just held on.

This is where her feelings surfaced. This is where she felt something- felt everything. It was her process. This horse had been through it all with her. He’d wandered through her remote place in the Virginia Range with a small band of mares- a young, strong bay stud. He caught her eye from the get go- the scars- the muddy, craggy look of his face- the shiny red mixed with black- and she lured him into the corral one morning. He willingly came, and when she shut the gate on him- he never flinched. It was like he’d been here before- so she held on to him- that was 15 years ago…

And now, here he was, standing quietly… just being. As she stood there letting his smell fill her nose, she finally felt that lump form in her throat- tears stung her eyes… and she thought of the news she received last week on her annual doctor’s visit. Words like “Stage 4” and “too late” and ” we could try” filtered through. She let the tears spill from the corners of her tightly squeezed eyes.

The bay lifted his head, nickered loudly in her ear, jarring her back to reality. She raised her head, looked up, and stroked his neck. She saw the herd rolling through in the distance. He nickered again-

She turned and walked away and he followed. With her back to him, she opened the latch on the gate, and turned back one last time, wiped away tears from her cheek, and stroked his mane. She stepped aside, out of his path- and let the pony run. After all, he was no different than her- he was just some wild thing- and he didn’t owe her one damn thing anymore- he never did. It was the right thing to do.

She sat down in the dirt, right there by the gate, leaned her head back against the post- and closed her eyes.