...And There Was A Bone
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...And There Was A Bone

It took me by surprise.  Resting on the steep backside of a ridge whose top was ringed with a black rock outcropping that gave it the feel of a fortress, the white bone snapped into view just before my foot landed on it.  Whoa!  I managed to redirect my footfall.  Not only to avoid hurting the bone, but also to keep it from rolling under my foot and sending me on a tumble down the hillside.   I’ve seen plenty of bones in my life.  In a life lived amongst livestock, you get familiar with death and bones.  You also…

Spiral Horizon
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Spiral Horizon

The sky lightens.  Delicate coral pink at the horizon fades to a delicate shell blue, if there is such a shade, and flows up the arc of the sky to become cobalt.  The horizon is not a flat line any more, with its southern horizon punctuated by the irregular rounded buttes of the Bear Paw Mountains of north central Montana.  Now the horizon is humped with bristly hills, all around.  Cows still bawl in the distance, though.  I think this sound was born with me, embedded in my bones.  And one of my horses munches contentedly within easy sight of…

Woolly Bear Caterpillars & Grandpa
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Woolly Bear Caterpillars & Grandpa

“You can tell how hard the winter will be by how long each black part is,” Grandpa informed my sister and I. We were small. One of my earliest memories is this. All three of us squatted in Grandpa’s garden and looked at the furry black and rusty red caterpillar. Each end of the caterpillar was black and its middle was rusty red. It marched along on its invisible caterpillar legs and feet through the marigolds, gone to seed in early September. Now, as I write this, I imagine the three of us from above. We are in a semi-circle…

Ways of Water
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Ways of Water

The wet salty mineral smell of the sea wrapped around me, held me upright and pulled me towards the waves. Sea gulls dipped and glided below clouds a shade darker than they. Their white heads stood in stark contrast to the shades of grey, and their yellow beaks glowed. Their strident calls fell in sharp notes into my ears, reddened by the fresh west wind. At my feet, dull tan sand gleamed a matte wetness, firm as each wave scrubbed it and returned to the sea. A voice behind my right shoulder explained, “Each seventh wave is larger than the…

Swan
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Swan

The beautiful photo of the swans was taken by the talented Janet Wallace. Did you too see it, drifting, all night on the black river? Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air, an armful of white blossoms, a perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned into the bondage of its wings:  a snowbank, a bank of lilies, biting the air with its black beak? Did you hear it, fluting and whistling a shrill dark music, like the rain pelting the trees,             like a waterfall knifing down the black ledges? And did you…

Winter White
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Winter White

Above me the sky is white. Snow as fine as sand drifts down. Under my feet, the ground is white. I am cocooned by white. It is cold. The whole last week has been subzero. The temperature bottomed out at -40 degrees Fahrenheit a couple nights ago. Or that is my best guess, as my electronic thermometer quit reading after -39 degrees. I had no intention of poking my nose out the front door to look at the mercury thermometer. Cold is cold. Now, it had warmed up to -7. Wow. Following days cooped up in the house, I went…