There's a peculiar sense of calmness that comes with the dawn. As the sun's first rays cut through the shroud of the night sky, the prairie begins to stir. The relentless Texas wind whispers secrets to the windmill, and the melodious sound of the morning lark trickles out from the wild apple trees. This is the time of day when the word 'savvies' takes on its full meaning. Savvy, the intelligence born from experience and observation. The hard-earned knowledge that comes from the land, the animals, and the rhythms of mother nature.
Now, let's get one thing straight, if anyone tells you life on a ranch is smooth sailing; they're pulling your leg. There’s always an unexpected surprise waiting right around the corner, poised to keep a cowboy on his toes. Like that one time when a pack of coyotes tried to make a snack out of my hens, only to be scared silly by Steve, the oldest rooster in the bunch, who showed them who really savvies the pecking order.
It’s a hard life, no doubt about it, but the prairie has a way of keeping things balanced. There's hardship, sure, but there's also pure, unadulterated joy. I tell ya, there's nothing quite like watching my nine little sprouts running wild across the grasslands, their laughter breaking the otherwise solemn silence of the landscape. It's a sight that would soften the toughest of cowboys and one that warmly reminds me of my most cherished role – being a father.
The prairie keeps teaching us, letting us gain our own set of savvies. Mine includes a touch of the unusual. Take my fascination with knot tying, for example. I reckon I can tie over 500 different ones (it's harder than it sounds, I dare ya to try). It also includes the bizarre conversations I've convinced myself I've had with my cows. My lot reckons I'm a bit nuts, but they haven't tried to listen – really listen – to a cow.
Sometimes, the savvies also teach you about pain. Like that fateful day when I stood between a raging bull and my dear mother. It’s a tale I've shared more times than I can count, a tale filled with fear, bravery, and ultimately a chronic backache. A little word to the wise though, it's never a good idea to argue with a bull.
Every sunup, my back reminds me of the price I paid. But as I stand there, looking out at the prairie bathed in the soft gold of sunrise, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The aching back, the endless work, the dance with danger – they’re all pieces of the adventure. They’ve all gone into shaping the man I am. They’re all elements of the prairie life I chose and continue to choose. The prairie takes, but it also gives, showering us with unexpected gifts and wild wonders at every turn.
So, saddle up, folks. Here's to remembering that life out here is about the savvies we gain, the courage we grow, the love we share, and the stories we tell. The prairie life isn’t for everyone, but for those brave few who call it home, there is no place we'd rather be.
Until next time, remember life is one big rodeo, and how you ride is what matters.
Cowboy Jack, signing off.