Oh, the things I’ve seen.
1.) On the main street of the rural border town where part of my husband’s family lives and where many homes in town have roping horses, stables, and horse trailers in the yards and where rodeo arenas far outnumber any other public venue, an elderly man, dressed in faded blue Wranglers and a cowboy hat, drove purposefully down the avenue in his motorized chair. With one hand he steered and with the other he held tightly to his perfectly coiled lasso. Ever ready.
2.) A large, middle aged woman with long, thinning gray hair pulled into a ponytail steered her motorized chair through the crowded aisles of our local WalMart. I moved slightly to the side to allow her room. Something nudged me to look at her again after she’d passed. The paralytic horror of seeing her substantial backside exposed from mid buttocks to somewhere below the bra line rooted me incapable of moving at first. Many thoughts whirled. Does she not feel a draft? I want to look away but I can’t! And finally, I knew. If I were ever in this situation, I’d WANT someone to tell me. I sucked in a deep breath and hustled after her, feverishly working to come up with a polite, compassionate way to break the news to her. Just before I caught up to her, two teenage girls stepped over to her. “Gosh, Grandma, yer showing yer whole *ss! The two girls laughed uproariously, as if it was an old joke they never tired of.
The older woman joined in the laughter. “Ya know what they say, ‘Crack kills!’”
3.) Wave after wave of Canadian geese flew over Tyson and me on our walk through the pastures, and they became so numerous that even this energetic puppy slowed his walk and sat, looking upwards at them. Soon it became obvious eight had broken away and were settling into a landing place not 20 feet from us. They descended, sure of where they were going, and unbothered that we were so close. They grew larger until it was apparent they weren’t geese at all, but some of the majestic sand hill cranes that winter near us.
The cranes’ talk with each other was fascinatingly different than that of the geese- more syllables, vaster arrays of notes, deeper melodies. Just as I set to move quietly away from them and resume our walk, the tallest crane expanded his wings and hopped high off the ground. Expecting them to take off, I hunkered down next to Tyson. Instead, though, of taking to flight, the bird bounded off the ground and jumped, landing once more, letting out a playful call. The crane next to him mimicked his exact gestures and did the same double hop, with the same joyful noise. One by one, each one did the same as the first, ending with the unusual warble.
I looked down at Tyson, held my arms out wide, and hopped twice, calling out to him in a throaty imitation of the birds’ expressions. His puzzled sideways glances at me gave way to open mouthed relief as we trotted quietly off.
4.) The abandoned cemetery was now cloaked in waist high grass, but my cousin, whose new ranch we were visiting, assured us there were graves dating back to the 1700’s. This cemetery was near the entrance of the ranch, just to the west of a river that had carried many settlers inland from the bay to their new homes on the frontier. Closest to what had been the gateway lay the graves of the founders of what had once been a thriving community here. Ornate markers of the finest granite now sat, some broken and unreadable, and some still surrounded by rusted wrought iron fences. A number were topped by small lambs, which indicated a child was buried there.
We moved though, sometimes with difficulty as the grass got taller and the brush got thicker. Most decided to turn back and my cousin pointed to a far corner. “That’s the servants’ corner. The ones who served the main family are all buried there.” I had on good boots (the red ones pictured in my header) and started stamping down grass and maneuvering through the prickly brush to get to it. “There are snakes out here, so be careful,” he called out. My husband plowed away next to me.
When we reached the small area, the grass obscured the ones still faintly visible, so we set to work pulling the dried weeds and clearing enough space to see. There were few stone markers, and the words on those had long since eroded. There were some marked with a simple rock, while others had the remnants of wooden crosses scattered about. As I looked back to the founders’ section of the cemetery, and those dilapidated markers that probably cost the families dearly, and then at these simple memorials to the lives of people who dedicated themselves to serving others, I knew that in the arc of time, there’s not much that separates us.
I’ve missed you all. Thanks to all of you who left such wonderful comments on my guest article I talked about the last time I posted. I’m grateful to have each of you in my life. I’m working, slowly but surely, to get caught up on your wonderful blogs!