Sunday, April 6, 2008

Old Journal from the Ranch

I found this snippet from an old journal – I didn’t keep the rest of that journal but did keep this page from what appears to be a couple of years after we bought the place. I won’t embarrass myself by posting the drawing I refer to, and I promise to talk about Chaps the horse-fellow again. (Below a picture of me with Chaps - in this picture he is very interested in my sketch book.)

There is a rock at the edge of the meadow below the house that is shaped like a short fat rodent. I have made a drawing of this rock and go back from time to time to see if it still looks like an animal. So far it has and I am grateful because it means that I can draw it again from another angle the next time I visit. In the lee of that same rock are plants that I have watched grow through the seasons of a couple of years. One is a plant that blooms in the late spring with a long square stalk and a series of small red blossoms hanging along the sides of the stem. Now, in January, the leaves are a dark glossy green and deeply serrated. Last year’s dead stalk is still there, surprisingly, I suppose there had not been enough hard rainfall to knock it down.
The other plant we call a wild cucumber. It is vine-like, turning in the branches of another shrub and from it in the summer will hang spiky green fruits the size of my fist. This plant has not pushed it self up yet, but I can see wispy pieces of last year’s vine and two or three deflated carcasses of the old fruits. I wonder if the fruit is edible.

I love to watch the horses graze, the sound of their teeth snipping at the short grasses is hypnotic. They don’t seem to mind me watching them, but they know me by now, and ignore me, mostly, unless they think I may have a special treat for them. One day recently, I sat on an old oak stump to watch them and enjoy the day. I heard leaves rustling in the little wash below us and from behind the trees stepped a yearling mule deer. He walked past me slowly not twenty feet from the stump, so I watched him too. He made his way past and up the hill behind me and I was glad that I was still enough that he didn’t fear me.

My favorite horse is Chaps, a gray Appaloosa. He is short and strong and square and gives me kisses that I maintain are only partially due to the carrot treats I give him. He is not a towering intellect but is smart enough, I guess, for a horse.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the rock looks like a hippopotamus myself. Or maybe a wild boar. Whatever it is, it's definitely a really cool rock!

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