Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Cowboy Life

I sit here at my desk in the Homestead/ Ranchhouse not fully able to comprehend what an amazing opportunity this is. I am humbled by the generosity Max exudes to even extend an invitation in my direction to partake in this Earth shattering congregation of superb writers. To be seen in the 511 Times is equivalent to having your story published in the New York Times of yesterday. Hats of to our fiercest competitor even though they can no longer hold a candle to the journalistic perfection seen here within.
I have little idea where I should take this article, but in times of confusion I believe it is best to fall back on familiar events. Therefore I will describe some experiences and express some opinions about the way of life that I have chosen, hopefully to paint a descent picture of who I am and what I bring to the Ranch. Many of my fellow Ranchhands are probably lead to believe I will be orating about a decision to become "brokeback", and to you I apologize, because that is not what I wish to talk about at this time. Instead I want to share with you things I have learned from my adventures around the world about our way of life.
What does it mean to be a Cowboy in the ever shrinking global world, and more importantly, what does it mean to be a Cowboy in the suburbs of Bozangelas? First, I think what is essential to our way of life is an established community, something you find in all parts of the ranching world, and something that I need not describe because it is what the 511 Ranch is best known for. So, in the ever shrinking world the communities of cowboys are becoming compressed and tighter, and as a result, stronger than the communities of cowboys from a century ago. Light was shown on this subject as I became integrated with a community of Goucho's in the Peruvian Andes of South America. As the cities are growing and the outside interest in their mountain resources are expanding they are finding themselves pushed ever further away into smaller and smaller pockets of wild land. It is on this windswept land that we practiced traditions of the Goucho passed on through generations traced as far back as the Inca Empire; To ride in the open land with nothing but a few of your closest cowboys and your giant herd of Lamas as your responsibility. I was instantly saddened because it flooded me with memories of riding the open ranges of Montana herding the great buffalo, but now due to the constraints of the suburban life we are left herding a few measly Golden Retrievers.
The great Cowboys of Asia (xaquingh, as phonetically correct as is possible) are struggling with similar changes to their way of life. However, it is both the land shortages and the economic hardships that have left them herding smaller species as well. Yet, as cowboys always do, they have found a niche market that needs their work and expertise. It is a trend that originated in Beijing (Peking) that has exploded all over the world and demands the huge numbers of duck consumed in fine restaurants. These great Xaquingh of Asia are working their hands to the bone herding these flocks of duck (believe me, until you have tried to rope a duck, you have no idea how hard a job it is. I have a hard time saying that as we here at the 511 Ranch take great pride in our roping abilities.) It was while watching these tight communities of Asian ranchers that I realized our purpose here in suburban Bozangelas is as important as ever. We need to be proud of our heritage as Cowboys and hold our heads high as the pressures of the world seem to squeeze in on all sides. In the end the Cowboys always win and we will ride into the great sunset of the Big Sky State to once again play horseshoes around the campfire instead of cornhole on the driveway.

Rope 'em -

Justin Smith - aka - Ranchhand extraordinare, ladies man, man's man, and one hell of a fine gentleman.

I want to apologize for some potential factual errors that may be present in my article, I was more concerned with the emotional aspect of the story than the factual correctness. I believe that is something stressed here at the 511 Times, and something I greatly appreciate.


At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a nice blog, nice.


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