Along the gravel drive

August 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Just about every week I drive to a little town between Boulder and Longmont to pick up my milk, from a small farm where I have a share in the herd. I am obsessed with this milk. The icing on the cake (cream on the top?) is that in order to obtain it I get to go out to a farm and smell that dairy smell, see new kittens lingering the doorways with their dewy glassy eyes, say hello to the curious gray goat, and watch the hens pecking around and making feed bags crinkle.

The last two times I’ve gone to the farm, I’ve gotten some additional glimpses of the good ol’ country life in this state of Colorado. (Something I am always glad to see persisting despite the influx of wealthy outdoor adventurers and trendy corporate professionals.) Two weeks ago (I missed a week between), as I was pulling around a corner to go out the long gravel drive, there in front of me were two girls on horseback. They were probably in their early teens, on chestnut horses, just ambling down the way and laughing with each other. Such a scene I’ve imagined or read about so many times I can’t count. Every horse-crazy girl imagines long rides on horseback with her best of friends and her best of horses. It made me happy to realize that this does still happen, in real life, not just in the imagination. Despite the blur of speeding-up technology and speeding-up society, and also the speeding-up of growing up, there can still be these slowed-down, timeless, quiet, enjoying-childhood moments.

I wanted to wish those girls all the good that life can hold. It’s strange to be older now, a real grown-up, not living on so much hope of the future as you used to, having fulfilled some dreams and abandoned others, having reworked perspectives, having come through difficulty and sought after strength. It’s strange to see these young ladies in the thick of girlhood and to remember how that was, to rather miss it, to hope that their choices and experiences are as good as some of yours, and much better than others.

Then, today, as I drove away from the little shed with my half-gallon jars full of whole milk, down that same drive, I saw to my left that a horse camp or group riding lesson was happening. There is a small paddock on the farm, just past the shed where I pick up the milk, and I’ve noticed before that it seems the farmer’s wife or some other relative must regularly offer riding lessons there. Today a collection of probably 8 – 10 year olds were lined up with their horses – mainly chestnuts and bays, all prettily matching – and they watched as one after another worked at circling barrels. I laughed – I did – I couldn’t help it. Cowgirls and cowboys are not the same, quite, as they used to be back in the height of the Wild West and all the myths that surround it, but they are still alive and well out here, a new version based on the old prototypes. They hold onto certain passions, practices, and, to some extent, a set of values. Cowboy boots and hats and Wranglers are worn shamelessly, even proudly. Just the other day I made a new acquaintance who has a seven-week-old baby girl. She said to me, while nursing her daughter in the seat of her pickup, “When we were naming her we went with Kylie Rose over Kylie Grace, because my husband says it’s a better cowgirl name.”

Oh. It’s just too good. And my little-girl dreams of being a Colorado cowgirl have never been so close. I was a wishful, pining dreamer, and to think all this time God had this up his sleeve. Life is incredibly interesting. And even when I’m broke and trying to figure out the next step and wondering if I’m wasting my talent and am yet still so full of ambition, there is so much to be grateful for, amused by, and celebrated.

Right now, I am especially thankful for this cup of coffee, bacon in the fridge, a swimmed-out sleeping dog, several articles to be written and published, the best sister in the world, and the likelihood of riding lessons in the near future.

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