POSTED IN | 4:15 PM
The observation isn't lost, that upon my moving to Wyoming, I did inherently step into what can only be regarded as a ranching community. While there does exist a fair number of respectable "city folk" in this small outpost, who aren't as inclined to the trade, by and large the dominant tone is one of animal husbandry.
Never before have I heard more conversations centering on, whirling around and peppered with the simple revelries and often hardships of raising animals, usually as means of one's lifestyle.
In short I have to say I like it. Coming from a pet-saturated background myself, the advent of having one if not numerous animals in or around my home growing up was common hat.
My dad used to say that everybody should raise animals of some kind, or be exposed to the process on some level. He said it taught character and responsibility, and lent a person to developing discernment for another's needs, even if that "other" rests of four legs instead of two.
I find I agree with my dad more and more, especially in light of my animal-dense encounters on the high plains of the Equality State.
What strikes me as most beneficial here is people's connection to the natural world. Most of these folks aren't flashy. They work hard on their ranches, they love their families and their animals, and they keep it simple. Not dumb. Just simple. Many are completely self sufficient, growing their own meat and vegetables, making their own cheeses and soaps and truly living off their sage brush lands. I find this very, very nifty.
This lifestyle does much to answer some of life's prevailing questions that are more and more stampeding to the forefront of a global modernized life (i.e. where the heck does my food come from? what the hay is in it? what in tarnations did i have to do to get it?, etc...)
For many Wyomingites their way of life is bound tightly to the thriving of their herds, whether cloven or shod. In recent snow storms (like the one today that has all roads in or out of town closed), there have been a number of calves perish, as is always the case in cow calving season. This type of weather is stressful on the animals and subsequently the ranchers. In chatting with folks around town and church you can tell it wears on them. Even the loss of one infant animal. You can tangibly see nature affecting their everyday lives.
Where do you see such natural connectivity in the urban lifestyle? I'll say it doesn't exist in nearly as potent a draught.
And I will make the statement that I think animals give back nearly equally what they take. Not necessarily in economic or readily quantifiable terms but in quality of life and therapeutic restoration.
I have a rancher friend here (see photos of animals below) who told me horses are "healers." This friend has several bodily ailments and with a honest face told me that if "touched" correctly, equines have the ability to remove pain from the human body. She's worked with horses for 50 years and knows them better than anyone I've ever met. How can you argue with that? I don't understand it, but I'm inclined to believe her...
So, in these musings I'll say I miss my own animals. The "girls" back home in OK (see photos). And I don't think I'm close to selling everything I have and joining the cowpoke ranks, but they make a convincing argument with their lives and their land-based connectivity. Plum diggety.
Truly a long face.