On the Edge of Common Sense 4-26-10
It is a photo imbedded in my memory; partly cloudy blue skies, a nearby mountain range coursing diagonally across the background, a finger shadow on the lens, and the glimpse of a startled horse’s left eye in the bottom right hand corner!
I was making a big circle one cold spring morning. I’d made it clear to the Canary Springs on the high end of the seven-section pasture. My horse picked up when I started back down over the ridges and smaller canyons. I passed a few cows, looked ’em over then topped the last big rise. The view was magnificent. It was a cowboy moment to be appreciated.
I pulled up to take it in. Rifling my coat pockets and banana bag, amongst the GPS, walkie-talkie, reading glasses, notepad, deerskin gloves, mini-binoculars, water bottle, runnin’ iron and tortillas, I finally found my camera.
Simultaneously, I was struck by an urgency that required me to dismount! Relieved, I began sweeping the landscape with my camera. A large green century plant lent color to the sea of yellow winter pasture grass and dark mesquite trees. Seeking the right composition I was snapping away, manipulating the zoom and trying to capture the horse’s majestic head, ears alert and silver concho shining. I stepped back, my spurs hit an obstacle and I sat, backside first … into the welcoming arms of a prickly paris maximus as big as a Barcalounger!
After sending out my emergency signal, “Ay-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y!” in case a curious doe, javalina or mountain lion was in the area, I sized up my situation. I was alone, no cell phone, three miles from the truck and pinned to a cactus like a butterfly on a board! Visions of old westerns flashed through my mind; the Lone Ranger pinned down by gunfire whistling for Silver, Shrek calling Donkey, Alvin screaming for the Chipmunks! I admit I did try to entice my horse to come to me, hand me his reins and pull me out, but his only reply was to take a step away. I thought I heard a chortle.
Taking it in my own hands I managed to unfasten myself from the cactus and I came loose like Velcro unzipping. For a moment I was thankful for my chaps until I realized they did not cover the offended area. I unhooked and dropped the left chap leg. I couldn’t drop my pant leg because it was pinned to my body! In a location outside of my peripheral vision! With each thorny spine, I palpated and pulled, I gathered fingertips full of the tiny hair-like aguates, which I am still trying to pick out of my skin. When the pant leg finally came down I repeated the tentative tactile search over the stickery battlefield. It took several minutes.
“Many thoughts went through my mind as I stood there,” as Marty Robbins would say. Pulling myself back together, so to speak, I climbed back on my horse and tested several positions, seeking comfort. To walk would not be the Cowboy Way. Eventually I adopted a sort of horizontal straddle with my right boot still in the stirrup, my head between his ears and my left hip glaring like a solar panel toward the sun! I looked like a scarred hood ornament on a ’49 Mercury.
Back at the house I deleted the photographic evidence from my camera, but I live in fear that some unmanned spy satellite photos are pinned on a bulletin board beneath the Pentagon and identified as a suspicious infiltrator disguised as a sunbathing acrobat.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture today, Aug. 18, announced another installment (phase) in assistance to commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021. More than 18,000 producers…
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