The best part of summer is the back of a horse on top of a hill when the sun is slowly sinking down below the horizon leaving a gold sort of sparkle in its wake. And the cows are in their place, grazing in the pasture with the big dam and the tall grass that tickles their belly.
And that guy you love is finished arguing with you about how to get them there, so you can relax now and just love each other and take the long way home to notice how the coneflowers are out in full bloom and the frogs are croaking like they’re trying to tell us something urgent. Something like, “Hey, stop worrying about trivial things. Stop working so hard to make more money to buy more stuff. Stop moving so fast. This is it right here guys. This is the stuff.”
Who knew frogs had such insight.
Around this ranch moving cattle is a sort of therapeutic chore. With everyone working a day job, taking care of the cattle is a priority that gets us home in the evening and out of the confines of the office, the checklists, the phone calls and the stress of the highway miles full of big oil trucks we pass by with white knuckles to get back home.
If our office could be the back of a horse all day, I think it’d be better for our blood pressure.
Maybe someday it will. Maybe not.
This is my third summer back at the ranch and every day I’m gaining more insight into what it takes to keep a place like this up and running. I’m beginning to understand that there are things in my life I need to weed out to make space for the time I want and need to spend out here on the back of a horse.
It’s funny coming from a woman who, three summers ago, started writing again because she had more time on her hands.
Because she didn’t know how to sit still.
Because she needed to work through what coming home for good means.
You’d think I’d have it figured out by now, but I’m not sure I’m there yet. For months our minds have been set on the bricks and mortar that hold us and all of the stuff we’ve picked up along the way.
That’s the step we are standing on.
But every day I look out the window, step outside to feed the dogs or pull at a weed or get in the pickup to move down the highway and I’m so overwhelmingly grateful that the summer came as promised.
And then I get a little lonesome.
I have responsibilities. I have burdens I’ve placed on myself to move forward, to achieve goals. I have deadlines I’ve committed to and jobs to complete, people who have questions and dates marked on my calendar to leave.
And when I’m leaving I want to stay. When I stay I think I’m missing a chance.
What chance? I don’t know. Aren’t I where I want to be?
But I’m not eleven anymore. No one is buying my milk so I can play outside all day.
All I want to do is play outside all day.
All I want to do is sing.
All I want to do is write.
All I want to do is take photographs.
All I want to do is ride.
All I want to do is drink cocktails and sit on the deck that we need to build and catch up with my friends and family and take in the sunset.
All I want to do is everything.
Is this a battle we all fight, the battle of balance? I feel I’ve been fighting it my entire adult life, with a list of so many things I want to be, so many places I want to see, and only one body, one life to achieve it.
More time to sit for a bit on the back of a horse and watch the sun go down on a place I love with a man I love and watch the cows graze.
But no one is selling time, turns out it is homemade.
I just need to find the right recipe.