Of herbs and stewed rabbit.
( The Two Towers) Lord of the Rings.
Not quite from ‘The Hobbit’ chapter titles but this was calling out to me. Please forgive the slight variation on a theme.
Every now and again I just have to get away. I love my family and this new life but sometimes the hustle and bustle of ranch life gets too much. I get that itch to run, Murdoch has become more understanding as time passes and that is why I find myself at the east line shack for a couple of days, instead of riding hell bent for leather for the horizon.
Barranca is kicking up his heals in the pasture and I’m sat on the porch with my feet up on the rail soaking up the sun, watching the world go by. Small birds are flitting in and out of the bushes and bathing in dust puddles out front their chirping and squabbling making me smile. The scent of sage is heavy in the air being stirred by a light breeze. Sometimes it’s the little things I miss from my former life, the time to go slow, observe, analyse and absorb the world around me.
Out of the corner of my eye I can see Barranca with his head down looking intently at something in the long grass. I know it’s not a snake by his body language. Whatever it is it’ got him intrigued. He is circling a single spot keeping his nose to the ground. I wonder what’s got him so fascinated.
Removing my boots and socks, so I can creep up, I move slowly so as not to spook Barranca or what’s in the grass. Barranca knows I’m close, he has stopped moving but he still head down and now it’s a little cocked to one side and his ears are pricked. I never knew he could be motionless for so long.
A bout 10 yards away I lay down propping myself on my elbows to scrutinise the horse. Just under his nose is a rabbit but it appears entranced, gazing up as Barranca, both their noses twitching in intense curiosity.
The chirping and squabbling of two small birds finally breaks the bind between rabbit and horse and in an instant the rabbit is gone. The total look of confusion on my horses face has me chuckling. Rolling on to my back the idea of rabbit for supper has somehow lost its appeal.
With Barranca snuffling at my hair and the warm sage scented air it’s not long before I’m dozing and dreaming of herbs and stewed rabbit. Would Murdoch understand how it’s the little things that you miss?
Read in the Bath Day Feb 9th.
A religious experience.
Scott was exhausted; he dragged himself through the front door of the hacienda, hung his hat and gun on the hall stand and threw himself into the chair by the fire.
“Hard day son?” Murdoch glanced up from the book he was reading at his desk. “I have some mail for you, looks like it’s from Boston.”
The conversation was interrupted as Theresa can down the steps into the room with a tray of coffee. Pouring a cup each for the men she looked at Murdoch, “I hope you don’t mind but dinner is going to be late this evening, Maria and I took longer blacking the stove that expected. Is 7 o’clock ok?”
Murdoch and Scott laughed,” You’ve got more blacking on you than the stove.”
Realising that his chance for a long soak in the bath was at risk Scott leap to his feet heading for the bath house. “Dibs on the bath!”
“You might want this.“ As Scott turned, Murdoch threw a small paper wrapped parcel at him. Catching it, Scott turned it over in his hands a couple of times……..he knew what it was. Spinning on his heal he headed for a long, hot, soak. 15 minutes later he sank gratefully in to the steaming water his aching muscles relaxed his fatigue forgotten, Scott reached over the edge of the tub for the parcel; with damp fingers he carefully removed the string and the paper. He ran his hand over the smooth leather binding opened the front cover and inhaled the scent of paper , ink and leather. A new book was a religious experience.
Relaxing in the hot water he began to read. …………….
’In these times of ours, though concerning the exact year there is no need to be precise, a boat of dirty and disreputable appearance, with two figures in it, floated on the Thames, between Southwark bridge which is of iron, and London Bridge which is of stone, as an autumn evening was closing in.’
‘The figures in this boat were those of a strong man with ragged grizzled hair and a sun-browned face, and a dark girl of nineteen or twenty, sufficiently like him to be recognizable as his daughter. The girl rowed, pulling a pair of sculls very easily; the man, with the rudder-lines slack in his hands, and his hands loose in his waistband, kept an eager look out.’……….
Scott drifted away on the tide of words. He just loved reading in the bath.
Extract from Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend
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