It’d been years since Laura had been horseback and she was sure to be sore for the next several days, but she was glad that she chose the long ride into the remote, rugged valley – even though her fiancé told her to rent a helicopter and do a quick fly-over of the homestead that she’d just inherited from her Grandpa Jones. Laura had heard the old man talk about the strength and beauty of this place ever since she was a kid but she had never seen it for herself. Once she got to the ranch and saw the pastures and horses, she knew that she had to see it as if through her grandpa’s eyes, from within its wilds.
After all, this would be the first and last time she saw it.
“I wonder why he willed it to me? We weren’t exactly on good terms when I laid down rubber to get outta place twelve years ago,” she thought as she rode about a mile beyond where her two companions, hired guides, actually, were setting up camp for the night. Laura dismounted and then walked to the ridge crest edge and scanned the valley below. She exhaled hard, glad that by lunchtime tomorrow they’d be off of this mountainside. It had taken them two days to get to this point and she was ready to see what was left of the old homestead.
Laura turned her stead around and rode slow back to camp. The man, Scotty, a nephew of her grandpa’s most trusted ranch hand, had already switched harnesses for bridles on the other horses; and his daughter, a 13-year old wisp of a girl, was clamoring through saddle bags, no doubt getting ready to make their dinner. Laura slid the saddle off her horse and borrowed a pick to remove rocks out of its hooves before she hobbled it near the others to graze for the night. The three of them ate the simple meal in silence, as the two with her didn’t seem much for chitchat. She sank onto her bedroll and the moment she laid her head upon her folded arm, she was fast asleep.
“Ma’am, ma’am, wake up. If you wanna get down to the valley by noon, we’ve gotta get to it. Linda’s got coffee, toast and some venison jerky set out for breakfast. I’ll see ya by the fire pit in a few,” said Scotty.
“Just how am I supposed to sell this to the highest bidder come next week?” she said under her breath, but apparently not in the whisper she had thought because Scotty cleared his throat beside her.
“Well, miss Laura, my uncle told me that I’d know when the time was right to give you this. Here, take it. I reckon the time is now,” Scotty said as he handed her a green canvas-like satchel.
“Along with the land, your grandpa left this for you too. It’s full of journals and letters so I reckon you’ve got some reading to do. If you need anything, me and my Linda will be down by the creek fishing and picking berries for the rest of the day.”
Laura looked at him, puzzled, but she took the worn military bag from the man’s calloused hands. “Okay. Thanks.”
“Oh yeah, Linda made you some sandwiches. They are on the stump over there near the barn, along with a canteen of water. We’ll come get you for dinner.”
She slid off her horse and handed the reigns to Scotty.
I snapped that above image with a zoom lens from the edge of my family’s actual-factual property line. Every now and then I like to use an interesting shot as a Photo Writing Prompt. When I do this, I have no expectation, no direction, and no preconceived notion — I just write. For more such hoopla, please visit this page. Thanks!
I’m still taking a break from the wild world of the interwebs,
but I wanted to share this piece.
Happy Summertime. Stay cool, buckaroos.