Daniel

cutting across Wyoming

the mountains appear just far enough away

to hold back the storm clouds

 

over Cottonwood Creek

past Cottonwood Ranch

the fence leaping deer make light work

of this rolling, undulating land

 

sudden outcrops of red rock

elephant footed in appearance

the wind gusting

nothing to stop it

 

you could get lost out here

in a ravine or gulch

befriend the black crows

the mighty eagles

 

become the next wilderness man

as far away as you want

just follow the telegraph poles

back in time to Daniel…

 

I took a chance

headed out west from Chicago

joined the Emigrant Trail

supplies loaded in a covered wagon

spades, picks, long handled axes

enough wire to demarcate what was mine

a thousand acre plot of sagebrush

hard truths and honest labour

a new way of living

pioneer

settler

adventurer

 

this is my story

part truth

part myth

 

I wasn’t the first man to brave this frontier

there were others before me

natives

trappers

gunslingers

government forces

 

go plant the Stars and Stripes

they told us

find water

a hollow for your cattle

trees for stakes

hurdles

firewood

shelter from the summer heat

the ingredients for success

 

the first year was the hardest

some never made it through

dust driven droughts turned

to winter snows

the big sky our canvas canopy

our kingdom

heaven

hell

godforsaken

god given

 

we fixed

we made good

sharpened our tools

honed our skills

saw out that first harsh winter

with prayers

determination

 

we scrimped and saved

every dime and dollar counted

for in the spring

the cattle men came

our chance to pick the finest

barter prices

share whiskey

stories

fights

 

to have a herd

was to be a herdsman

some might say a cowboy

a rancher

a dream believer

 

with the first calves

some cash to reinvest

a proper cabin

long, dark days planning

cleaning gun barrels

stoking fires

flaming our faces

fortune telling

 

and maybe in a year or two

a wife and family

the privilege to provide

for town and country

 

the old Pony Express route

well that’s long gone

the telegraph poles came

and you can still find me

just follow them down through time

find the town that bears my name

 

Daniel

Population 150

Elevation 7192

Wyoming

USA

 

IMG_20160902_134232

(this is a reimagining of history. Daniel, Wyoming is a real enough place. I drove through it today. There’s not much to see but, as with most places, history is never far behind us. I’ve just mixed it around a bit that’s all)

 

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