We climbed up in the pickup truck and rode, all three in the front bench seat, through the creek crossover and up the hill. The scrubby mesquites and the oaks stretched their gnarly branches towards the sky; cactus grew wild, scattered everywhere.
The road was little more than a cleaning, a scattering of rocks and gullies dug into the dirt from the last good rain.
Which has been a while.
We saddled up two horses; well, they saddled them up. I watched. And then I climbed aboard, some 20 years since I’d been on a horse.
I remembered galloping through the fields outside of Tolar, Texas, with Dawn Tanner, proud and excited to show me her horse and the wild land she rode.
I remembered little more; I couldn’t recall the last time I’d been on a horse since that time with Dawn.
It was hot – not for Texas, of course, but for this girl whose Virginia and Ohio climate conditioning has led to mild expectations for October. It was hot, and it was beautiful.
The horses were strong and sure, and at the top of the bluff there was no sound; nothing but the breathing of the horses and the rocks as the scattered past their hooves.
Utter quiet. No cars, no noise, no phones, no music.
Silence and stillness.
Such a great gift.
When we got in the truck, a Buddy Miller tune was on the radio. It’s only fitting; he just oozes Texas to me, and one of the most powerful songs I know came out of time in Texas, when he and his wife Julie sang Is there any way you could say ‘no’ to this man?
I am seeing Texas with fresh eyes.
I am grateful.