They appeared quickly through the dry trees…running grey whispers going flat against the dingy white snow. One shouldered into another and sent him rolling…but he quickly regained his feet and the whispers continued on. They were fast. Low and stretched out, the ground they covered passed quickly. There were four. One is seen frequently, two is not unusual…but four together…I wondered at what instigated the occasion. Celebrating a kill? Sharing in the spoils? Chance? Padded feet on hard snow couldn’t be heard but the movement had caught the attention of my dogs. Instantly, two canines began to chase four canines. Worlds apart, and yet so similar. The greys retreated in haste, and my two red tinted canines were in a retreat themselves…one dictated by my yelled commands. I was greatful for the lack of contact. The odds were not in my dogs’ favor. Their fighting instinct unproven except in play. Though thoroughly willing to guard against invaders, I had quickly called them back to safety. Their job may be to protect, but so is mine. Letting them put themselves in that precarious position would not be allowed. The whispers returned to the trees and I thought the short story over. But they returned. Whispers became echoes. They again ran across the field accompanied this time by my dogs’ frantic barking. My dogs minded me, and stayed on the hay trailer, but couldn’t help themselves from alerting the world that intruders were about. Deja vu. The whispers returned to the trees, this time in a relaxed manner, bounding across the snow. What was going on? I had no chance to contemplate it further, when two of the four appeared again. Half-heartedly they crossed the snow and this time achieved the other side of the field and sagebrush covered camoflage. I calmed my dogs. I returned to my tractor and sighed. I thought of those four whispers of grey in the morning light…and wondered…
The sundog hung above the cedar topped hill. We were feeding our replacement heifers when I noticed it, a glaring bite of rainbow lonely in its attitude. As my tractor lurched and thudded over frozen chunks of manure, I reached for my camera. Pausing the tractor’s progress, with my husband’s questioning look, I opened the door of my tractor and aimed. The reasssuring beep of the camera was followed by a brief glimpse of the photograph I had just snapped. Unfortunately, like many full sized rainbows, sundogs are hard to capture, often because of the bright radiance that surrounds them. My sky was almost flat white, my colorful sundog had run away from digital capture! Proceeding through the routine of feeding cattle and horses, I began to wonder… why is it a sundog? Returning later in the morning to the house, I reached for my trusty computer to search “sundog”. I could find the cause, I could find references in literature, I could find lyrics containing the words, I could find a band and a computer program and many other references to “sundog”, but nowhere was there an explanation of why it is called a sundog. Aha. I have it. The next topic for my next children’s book. My first book (not published, except on my computer!) was written for my children and it is called Red Dirt in my Soul. A child’s view of his great-grandfather settling this ranch, I hope to create a version for next year and our centennial of ranching celebration. The next book is a story of 3 Indian sisters who dance their lives away and run off to continue their dancing, but run so far they turn into the northern lights. Another idea is to have just photographs capturing an ever increasing detailed view from satellite to home. But now I have “Sundog”… thanks to a frosty morning, feeding cows, and trusty dogs to inspire me!
The dogs of Greet Ranch look all directions to protect the hay trailer from any predators, or cattle! Bob, Elsa, Lucas, and Boomer stand guard.
Well, actually it is Monday, but we’ve had Wind the past day and unlike other parts of Wyoming, we don’t always get wind here. We manage to whine like wind through the wires when we get it, too! Barring the drafts that blows through this old house and the creaking of the cottonwoods in my front yard and the occasional thunk of a branch falling on the roof…wind never is a big thought til you have to go outside in it. Warm though it was, I still dressed in my usual coveralls and Carhartt coat and scarf and heavy gloves. Yep, sure enough, my overheating quickly was cooled by wind chill!
Bob celebrates Windsday with a salute of wind-blown ears!