Have you ever wondered… wondered what it would be like to return to the days of the wild west? Where faith was simple, respect was genuine, and dreams were accomplished through hard work in everyday living. Where generations and neighbors worked side-by-side, striving to build a legacy that would last for generations, God willing.
As a young girl, I used to dream of a time where the cowboys sat astride their mounts overlooking their livelihood from their mountain perch whilst their stock graze in the mountain meadows below. Witnessing them as they sat tall, faces tanned from the hours in the sun and gloves weathered from the strain of manual labor. They sat tall with pride in their eyes. Those same eyes that held the marks of years in the sun and years of laughter. Eyes that had seen and understood more about God’s creation and intention for hard work than many of us could ever fathom. If those eyes could tell the story of the west, what would they say? Would they tell of laughter, of love, of hard work and pain? Of overcoming and perseverance, of joy and fulfillment?
I believe they would.
The lifestyle and heroes from the old western dime novels seem all but extinct. Their stories only retold on the big screen. But deep in the heart of the Colorado mountains, a few of these legends remain.
On that warm October afternoon, Jared and I never would have dreamed of coming upon a modern day round up and cattle drive while we headed for a hike at a nearby canyon. Jared gave me one look after seeing the trailers and trucks lining the lot next to a full sea of black filling the corrals and knew we would be stopping. It wasn’t even a question. While I am absolutely sure the folks standing around in boots and chaps thought this city girl stopping by in her joggers and fuchsia Nikes was definitely lost, I knew I was definitely right where I wanted to be- capturing the western history still holding on in these modern times.
Perched up on the fence, camera in hand, I enjoyed a front row seat to events and happenings surrounding me. Watching the cowboys weave in and out of the livestock, herding the cattle down the alley to the waiting trucks to one side of me while witnessing multiple generations sharing conversation and laughter amidst the work that was making dreams come true on the other. It was one of the brief moments where I was blessed with the realization the west was not only still real, but in these moments, thriving. In its own way, in this special place, the west was alive and well.
As a young girl, I lived on a small farm in western Idaho. To this day, some of my favorite memories have to do with feeding the cows or sitting on the fence post watching the bull meander in the corral next to our barn. Spending time with the cows has always been something I cherished partly because that was what I did with past generations. I spent time with the people I loved most working the cows. I remember our small town rodeo and although I don’t remember when my love for cowboys and the west really began, it’s truly something I can’t remember ever living without.
From my earliest time, I dreamed of growing up, getting to love a cowboy and raise a brood of rowdy little ones on our own little piece of the wild west. Marrying Jared checked phase one off my romantic, wild west dream list. While I absolutely love him in his joggers and Nikes, there is just something about that man wearing his hat, boots and riding a horse that gets me every time. Our four kiddos are fulfilling part 2 of my dream. Rambunctious, rowdy and energetic to the max, those littles fill this momma’s heart in a way I never knew possible. As a family, we are working on part 3. God has taken Jared and I on a journey from Montana to Texas we never would have anticipated. But, God has also placed people and experiences in our path that have led to a full life of laughter and love, hard work and progress.
The smells of a roundup, the multi-generation memories being made and even the tiny pair of boots being held up by the grass; this experience touched a part of my soul. And for a moment in time, the west was a part of my present; a present that connected me to my past and reminded me of childhood dreams, family focused priorities and a life full of wonder. A life worth living and working for.