December 16, 2016

Sunday, December 16, 2018

            Winter is almost here.  Daisy and I walk the neighborhood, taking in tiny twinkling lights, statues of deer and snowmen.  In the darkness, I almost miss the doe walking past us. Daisy lunges and growls; I scold.  Around the corner of Bell and Sierra Madre the deer gather at a house with a fountain in the front yard.  There are five does, their shadowy figures fading fast in the darkness.  A great horned owl hoots in the far distance, barely audible.  Its faint call comes to me in an instant and disappears.  Where is it?  Deep in the woods behind all these houses. 

            Lately the coyotes have been showing up early, around 8:30 p.m.  Daisy knows they’re there somehow and rushes around the house, back and forth from the dining area window to the living room.  How she senses them is a mystery considering the barriers of windows and darkness.  Yet she sits there and barks and growls.  The coyotes know she is there too and trot down the street. 

            Tuesday, I drove to Bastrop to watch a Cal Middleton horsemanship clinic at McCall Ranch.  The ranch is a sprawling property of I don’t know how many acres, up for sale at $25 million.  It was a sunny, windy day; not too cold, but hardly warm.  I sit bundled up in my wool shirt, sweater, and jacket, hood up, watching riders trot and walk their horses in different patterns. 

            During lunch break I took a long walk down the road, enjoying the sun and wind, the open sky.  A large black and white dog, maybe a border collie mix, runs ahead of me along fences and in the pastures.  We pass one of two houses – maybe a manager’s house?  Black and white cattle graze in the pasture until the dog chases them.  Their faces have interesting markings; some have a white face, some have two black rings around their eyes, and some have a black snip down their forehead. 

            I turn at the end of the gravel road toward the endless pastures, black and white dog running ahead.  There are several barns and outbuildings scattered in the rolling acreage; I wonder if it’s all a part of the McCall Ranch.  Then I turn around and head back, black and white dog running ahead again.  The cattle stare at me as I pass and begin to follow as I walk down the road.  When I stop, they stop and wait, looking at me as if searching for some direction.  Do they think I’m going to feed them?  All the while black and white dog frolics ahead. 

            A pair of bluebirds flit through the fence and a great blue heron soars high above looking for a place to land.  Cattle egrets peck around the pastures.  Something happens to me when I’m in a place like this.  I feel it when I drive down Blake Manor Road or standing in the fields at Scattered Oaks.  It’s different here.  We are all together here in this place – horses, dogs, cattle and people. 

Christine Baleshta


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