Wednesday, April 2, 2008
For miles the grasslands sway in the evening breeze, like a sea of gold the wind moves the landscape in a constant never-ending wave of moving grasses. Several miles away on the horizon a herd of pronghorn antelope graze among the sagebrush and grasses as they have for thousands of years. The pronghorn has remained virtually unchanged for millions of years; during the Pleistocene period, the pronghorns lightening quick speed helped them to survive the onslaught of attacks by Dire Wolves, and prehistoric Cheetah. Today they still populate the west in large numbers, surviving comfortably in the most extreme conditions, where other animals would surely perish. One other animal also survives this harsh environment remarkably well, the wild American Mustang. These hearty animals have survived for thousands of years as well , the American government tried to wipe out the wild mustang in the eighteen hundreds in an effort to bring the plains Indian tribes to their knees. After years of conflict with the tribes, this was our governments answer to the defeat of the proud warriors who had fought so bravely for their homes, families and way of life. Thousands of wild Mustangs were ordered shot on sight, nearly decimating the once vast herds, in the same way as the plains tribes main source of food and basic necessities of life the Tatanka or Buffalo which once roamed the vast plains in numbers too numerous to count. As I stare across the open country, I see the herds vanishing before my eyes and the lodges of the ancient peoples disappear into as much mist in my minds eye.
Thunderheads build across the western horizon, lightning dances in the cloud formation lending a spiritual aspect to the power I feel brewing all around me on these sacred high plains. Cisco, feels the power on the winds too. I feel the muscles bunching under me, as he starts prancing in that way he does, letting me know his legs are ready for a long powerful run across the threshold of time. He is a direct descendent of the ancient mustangs, a breed unto themselves, built for stamina and speed, endurance and true wildness. Cisco came to me through a friend, no one had ridden him and the horse trainer I took him to said I should never try to ride him because he would kill me. The warrior spirit in me stepped up to the challenge and we began the process of training each other. Our first ride ended with me meeting the earth at a high rate of speed, since then we have learned together and have ridden over a hundred miles together in the last few months.
I touch his side ever so slightly and release the reigns, on powerful legs we launch into the plains with lightning quick speed, the ground falls away behind us at Cisco hits his stride. The evening air hits my face making my eyes water as we fly into the winds; we have danced this dance before, man and beast flowing as one in a sacred manner across the lands of our ancestors. For miles, we run feeling alive and free in the face of the oncoming storm, finally, we slow to a walk and I pat his neck whispering into his ears in a gesture of friendship. The truck and trailer are in sight, somehow we have returned to the present, to the modern world, from our ancient journey. As I steer the truck onto the highway, and begin the trip homeward I glance across the plains , in the distance ancient fires still burn and the glow of hundreds of lodges light the evening horizon, while wild horses graze on the dimly lit grasses of late evening …………Hawk a/ho