Work Myself Warm


The raindrops serenaded me as I sat in my saddle.  Each drop sounded different depending on if it landed on my oilskin slicker or my saddle leather.  Those that landed on Panama were absorbed quietly.
The grass caught each drop with a satisfied sigh.
My eyes were closed and I concentrated.
Warmth was abandoning me and I was trying to will it back.
My shoulders hunched against the breeze, Panama echoed me by turning his butt to the wind.
Sitting with closed eyes on horseback can be disorienting.  Even pressure must be placed on both stirrups.  Movement that is not yours must be compensated for… making concentration that much harder.
Trying to relax those muscles that felt chilled was taking more effort.  I was not about to dismount, leaving my saddle uncovered to absorb those splats of rain.  Riding a wet saddle is no bueno.
I tried again to think myself warm.
I imagined the sun staring out of a brilliant blue sky.  My slicker would need to be unbuttoned, steam could billow off of my oilskin quickly given the right conditions.  My brown sweatshirt hood could be peeled back.  The turquoise scarf around my neck would be crammed back down deep in the slicker pocket.
I almost
could believe that.
But Panama shifted and reached down again to rip out a mouthful of emerald grass, and my eyes flew open, regaining my balance and placement in this world of rain and wind.
Again I felt the wetness on my shoulders, my thighs, and my ribs.
Thinking myself warm was proving to be difficult.
I pulled on the reins, stepped Panama around into the wind, and we peeked over the ridgetop.
A mile away, a small herd of Angus steers were heading my way, five cowboys in a loose configuration around them.  They’d still be a while before they reached my hillside.
Panama and I dropped back under the hill.  Hunching shoulders, turning tail to the breeze.  I closed my eyes and thought of my woodstove… popping in its heat, and I made my shoulders relax.  I mentally tossed another log on the fire…
I breathed deeply.
Panama shifted.
I sighed and opened my green eyes.
If I couldn’t mentally make myself warm, I’d just have to ride out and meet my crew… and work myself warm.
I kissed to Panama, lifted my reins once again, and we struck out for the herd.
June 20, 2010   Good Ride, Cowboy
June 20, 2009   A Story From Wyoma
June 20, 2008   One More Time… 


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