Life of the Free!

I awake to the winds of the high desert whistling through my ears. Samson cocks his ears anxiously to the west as the coyotes yip their thanks to the rising sun. I rub my dust-caked eyelashes, wiping out all traces of sleep. As I rise into a crouching position, I reflect on the present tasks at hand. With a whooshing sigh, Samson saunters over to nuzzle my grimy breeches, and for a moment or two, we sit, girl and dog, looking over the dry earth and the cattle grazing lazily upon it. Though at times the thought of riding another day without proper food or bedding may daunt me, what keeps me running is the thought of losing this lifestyle of freedom of which I crave.
I pick up Lyd’s curry and commence to combing away the bits and pieces fastened into her coarse hair. I have been on the run for over a year with my brother, fleeing from a sheriff wanting revenge for his careless son’s death. I slowly reach over and tap Connor’s shoulder as I realize that the coyotes that Samson noticed may not be a one of his wild family members. Connor stirs into awareness, and reading the look in my eyes, sits up sharply and scans the horizon. He nods curtly, and we both spring into action.
I mounting Lydia and Connor on Hatchet, we head in the direction of the herd in a swift gallop, each of us swaying easily in the saddle. Samson drives the herd from the southwestern side, nipping at any straggler’s heels, as Connor and I move the cattle northeast into the hills, away from any potential pursuers. We move quickly, our horses fresh from a cool night’s sleep. I glanced briefly to my 30-30 rifle strapped across my back and the long knife hanging at my hip, reassuring myself that if our flight was to turn out to be a trap, I would be prepared.
Into the darkness we rode, with all of our belongings on our backs. As the moon rose over the cooling landscape, with our silhouettes gliding over the starlit desert, we began to slow, allowing our exhausted herd to graze as they trod over the barren brush. Samson ran beside Lyd and me, while Connor and Hatchet were just a step behind. Ascending up the steep embankment onto the steppe, Connor and I rapidly set up camp, rolling out our blankets, coaxing off our horse’s bridles, and kicking off our boots.
As brother and sister sit out in the night, the breeze whispers its ancient comfort. The thwack of tails against muscled rumps blends into the sounds of the night; crickets chirping, prairie wolves howling, and burrowing owls calling out to mates. We continue our tradition living off of this sacred land. This is the sound of our civilization, our flight of continued freedom.





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LineaJuliet said...
Jun. 6, 2009 at 10:52 pm
Yeah!
 
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