Well, a few more showers. Still waitin' for the "gully washers" but every little shower's a welcome deal. And, without further ado, back to the angels.
There was another side to the notion of ranch work and by association, horses, and that was money. I'd been payin' off some debt, there livin' in the truck and on occasion, chippin' in, help my friend Mr. Anand, with repairs, or somethin' he really needed, there around the house. But, even with the insurance from the truck company, I now had another couple a thousand I had ta pay off, on my hospital bill. So, ranch work, worked; not only was it somethin' I'd known as a youngster and a chance get back with horses, but, it generally comes with a bunk and meals. Anywhere around a town, ya gotta come up with "first month, last month and deposit", if ya want a roof, not ta mention a job or meals. And, when ya got none, that's a tall order.
Anyway, that old friend from Utah did take me on fer shovelin' pens and introduced me to a world of horsemen and women, includin' Ray Hunt; probably one a the most famous horsemen of the 20th century, this side a the pond, second only, maybe, to his mentor, Tom Dorrance, inspiration to "The Horse Whisperer". It was huge. First time I got ta see Ray workin', I knew I'd found "my bridge".
There it was, plain as day; a regular guy, talkin' and walkin', workin' with the horses, natural as a mom gettin' her kids ready for school. All the comfort. All the familiarity. All the ease. All the affection hidden in every gesture. Knowin', where they had ta go and what each one needed ta get there, comfortable. I'd heard a bunch of his quotes and sayin's but this was the fact a the work and the love from which it came, honed over tens a years, hundreds a towns, thousands a horses and millions a miles. I remember him stoppin and talkin' one night to a bunch of us hangin' around. Somebody asked him why he did, what he did. He just sarted talkin' real casual about growin' up with horses, horses he'd known, Hondo, the horse he knew he'd never break, meetin' Tom and considerin' there might be another way a doin' things; more like lovin', less like fightin'. By the time he finished, we'd all quit whatever we were doin', hangin' saddles, pickin' up and we all just stood there, Ray sittin' on a horse he'd been playin' with, quiet now, starin' at his hands stacked on the saddle horn, all of us caught in some kinda other worldly moment. I remember the first time I felt an earthquake, out in California. The center of it was pretty far off, inland, so we just got a taste; nothin' violent. But I sure remember the feelin'; all of a sudden, everything I ever considered solid had, for a few seconds, just turned liquid, like a wave passin' 'neath my feet and I knew, I'd never be quite the same.
So, I spent about a year up there, first with my friend Ben, then some months with another friend of his, Ray and Tom, a wonderful horseman named Clay Wright, lived in central Utah. Got ta meet a few others, 'd known Tom pretty well, get another take on the same kinda deep appreciation of a horse and what it means ta be together.
Have a great day!