Background Switcher (Hidden)

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Once at the corral, we explored it, and climbed the weathered boards to see the land that rolled off behind it. Both times we've visited this spot before, mountain bluebirds have mysteriously appeared, as if to greet us. This time they were nowhere in sight. Bill immediately set off on a mission to find some for me, because mountain bluebirds go with the magic gate, and that's that. He is a most chivalrous birding companion. Marilyn and Mary--just a couple of cowgirls, looking for the blues.

The juniper-studded hillsides seemed to go on forever--huge in scale, their size only apparent when you went to hike them. Distant specks resolved into celestial blue, like little bits of sky fallen toward earth. A flock of perhaps 40 mountain bluebirds sifted across the junipers, pausing to hover and pluck the fleshy juniper cones. One bush had twenty or more birds in it, fluttering and hovering. They were too busy to come find us, so we found them. Is there a more beautiful bird than a male mountain bluebird?Perhaps a female?How perfectly they fit into the landscape of indigo mountains and weathered wood.

Wayne Peterson surveys the flock. He's dwarfed by the scale of this country. There's nowhere in Ohio that I can think of where I could get a picture of a person looking so tiny in the vastness.Where have all the cowboys gone? I know where there's one. Having found mountain bluebirds for me, Bill of the Birds turned to Wayne, who was trying to figure out how to silence the annoying sound effects that are inexplicably produced by his Olympus C-730. This was my first digital camera, and I hated the loud Zhrooom! it emitted on being turned on, and the Kschlopp! it makes when it takes a picture. There's no reason for a camera to announce itself that loudly. So, in the middle of all this natural beauty, and over Wayne's protests, Bill took the time to wrestle the camera's menu to the ground, the ludicrousness (and perfection) of the moment completely lost on him.I just laughed, because it was such a classic Bill Thompson thing to do. I think I've mentioned that this long, tall helpful cowboy is a mighty good papa, too.
On our way back to the house, we passed this billboard along NM 107.It sent my cowgirl dreams spinnning off into the ether. Just another thing you'd never see in Ohio. I don't know if I've been granted enough years on the planet to earn enough money to buy a piece of New Mexico, but I can still dream. A little boy should know in his bones what open spaces are.
[Back to Top]