Rapt


Work at times has been hard to find, and travel necessitated to find and make it a reality. That is the way of the world.

It was late because I started late, so I pulled off the side of the road, down a dirt road to the side of a creek. I had only a couple of more hours to travel before I got to the ranch on the other side of Elko.

Hurrying to beat the sunset, I pulled the plastic tarp over the bed of my truck, tossed in the extra blankets and my old military sleeping bag. With little time left before complete darkness, I opened a can of beans and ate until the can was empty.

Stumbling my way down to the creek in the warning light, undid my wild rag, dipped it in the icy water, and wiped the sweat off my face, neck, and underarms. Then returning to my truck, I climbed under the tarp into my sleeping bag and fell asleep to the gentle burbling of the creek.

I awoke from a dream of taking a hot shower, only to find myself still in my sleeping bag and cold.

Laying there, I realized my mistake. I had not thought out my parking arrangement very well and found the cab blocking the newly risen sun from shining on the bed.

It was a struggle to get moving. I opened the bed of the truck and scrambled out, finding myself to be stiff from the hard surface I had slept on and the morning chill.

As fast as I could, hoping to get my heartbeat up and blood flowing, I raced around my truck twice. Then I hoped in it, shoved the key in the ignition, and checked the time that flashed across the radio’s face.

Next, I got out my toothbrush and headed back to the creek’s edge. There I rested on my knees and brushed my teeth.

Tucking my brush in my shirt pocket, I pulled out my wild rag from the night before and dipped it in the water. As I started to wring it out, I heard a large cracking sound come from up the bank of the water from me.

“Bear?” I thought, listening for more sounds.

It was while listening that I saw the heavy mist-like fog curling and floating above the water. It struck me a magical, and I wondered at myself and why I’d hadn’t noticed it before.

My reverie was broken by yet another loud crashing in the trees up from me. I needed to get out of there and back to my truck before that bear discovered me.

It happened as I stood up.

The leader of a herd of wild Mustang stepped down the embankment and into the water. She looked in my direction and continued across the swift-moving waters.

Behind her came several more horses, all of them ignoring my presence and following their leader. I watched in awe as they moved through the water, hooves clickity-clacking on the stones in the brisk water that barely rose to their mid-hocks.

After counting about 50 horses, I finally came to my senses and stepping back to where I’d come, into the copse of trees. Loaded up, I turned my truck around and headed for the ranch and the possibility of work.

“I need someone to help stretch some new wire before the snow sets in,” the ranch foreman said.

I wasn’t listening, and he sensed it.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered, “Was thinking about what I’d seen this morning.”

“Do tell,” he instructed, leaning back in his chair.

I did.

He hired me.

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