Monday, July 8, 2013

Saying Good-bye to the Cows

The sun is just barely up, on one of the longest days of the year.

I stand around in the corral.  One of the horses approaches me and requires me to spend nearly as much time petting him as I do shooting photographs, but that's all right.  The others mostly maintain a safe distance.

Soon I'm watching them race around the corral, staying just out of reach of the men and boys looking to catch and saddle them.

Three generations of cowboys gradually catch their horses and begin to brush, bridle, and saddle them.

The humans and the horses will work together as the day heats up.

They are rounding up the cows to ship them all to Oklahoma.  Just ain't enough water here.  "We're lucky we got somewhere to send 'em there.  My cousin."

Still, it's sad.

The ranch used to run from the Rio Grande into part of what's now White Sands Missile Range.  A lady named Evelyn ran it for 64 years before these folks bought it from her in 2002.

Now there ain't no rain.  The Big River, the Rio Grande, is a dry meadow.  

Now the cows are moving to Oklahoma.

Shouldn't matter much to the cows, but it does to the people.  Very much, I think; but they don't waste time saying so.  It's life.  

No one will write a newspaper story with a banner headline about the departing cows.

Maybe killed by the greed of heartless corporations or the careless piggishness of all of us, or maybe killed by natural global cycles as indifferent to the cows as the  cows are to the ants underfoot, something is dying here.  Something that matters.  Something that was here for a long time, struggling against the elements.  Something of which the earth some day may bear no trace.

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