ALL THINGS LITERARY. ALL THINGS NATURAL.

A blog for those who desire a more creative relationship with the natural world.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Craving the Wholesome

Dozens of horse books are packed and ready to haul to Wyoming for the 9th annual Literature & Landscape of the Horse Retreat - from Joe Camp’s The Soul of a Horse, to Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague, to Laura Hillenbrand’s Sea Biscuit.  New handouts are printed and stuffed in the registration packets - from information on 15,000-year-old cave paintings of horses in France, to information on the few remaining Cherokee and Choctaw horses descended from those that walked the Trail of Tears.  With so many guests returning year after year, Sheri and I work hard to bring something new to our retreat at the Vee Bar Guest Ranch.

Why do so many of us return?  Is it the call of Wyoming's high mountains and spacious grasslands?  Is it our mutual love of horse stories, or our love of the Vee Bar's willing horses and their untamed brethren at the Deerwood Wild Horse EcoSanctuary? Maybe it's the cute young women wranglers and the old hands like Tommy who have tall tales to tell with every turn in the trail.

Surely, it's all these things, but to talk about any of these things without talking about the wholesome Wyoming family who welcomes us back each year would be like talking about The Man from Snowy River without mentioning Down Under.

No doubt one of the paramount reasons so many of us return is because we hunger for wholesomeness. Our souls are weary of sordid news and hopeless forecasts. Our shoulders are not broad enough for the world's worries, yet we would eagerly embrace the chores of a single day if given a chance. And here, with this Wyoming family, we can drop off the grid and back into the heart of what matters. Family. Animals. Land. Hard work. Laughter. Song. Friendship. Fresh air. Each day enough unto itself. Each crisp night starlit and shining bright.

Sound too idyllic? Not to worry - our battered lives could use a bit of the idyllic. We've all but forgotten what Merriam-Webster calls "the well being of mind and spirit, and the "vigor of normal domesticity."

This is what I am most grateful for - the chance, for one week, to share what I learned to love about life lived on a piece of land that is cherished and cherishing, land that raises animals and children in equal measure - both running half wild, half the time, trying to catch the joy that's born into each day. Lasso a bit of that hope. Build a big loop and swing your lariat for all it's worth.