When you think of Texas you think of John Wayne, prairie schooners, the Chisholm Trail, longhorn steers, arid dusty trails that kicked up the choking red earth as the horses, wheels and cattle cut their way through southern Texas while the sun beat down mercilessly upon the dry earth. Well, I do anyhow, but then I am a hopeless romantic, was obsessed with J. T. Edson as a youngster and watched nearly every western I could catch on the TV on those lazy Sunday afternoons that used to dominate my youth.
Yesterday – Thursday - I saw something by a low creek bed that conjured up the idea of the typical western scenario – a sun-bleached skeleton with its bones scattered across the dry earth. Presumably, the demised creature had made its way to the water and had been left where it had fallen, feeding the creatures of the sky and ground until its meat-picked bones lay naked on the soil.
The cattle drives may have disappeared along with a lot of the open land but if you close your eyes and listen you can still hear the sound of cattle calling to each other, horses nickering, cowmen yelling and the creaking of the wooden prairie schooners as they trundle along the skyline. If you listen very carefully you can also pick out the sound of stampeding cattle thundering down to the creek beds in search of the water, the scent of which had reached their nostrils – those Texas Longhorns sure had a penchant for sudden stampedes.
Head ‘em up, move ‘em out!