In the late afternoon I drive slowly down the mountain road, my attention drawn to the stream, running lower now than two weeks ago, when it was still charged by melting snow, when it was the first thing I heard when I awoke. It’s quieter now and I hear birds.

I stop at the store for diesel, fill my can, walk past three trucks to pay. In two I see open beers in the dashboard cup holders. The other – a white Ford of 80’s vintage – sags under the weight of cedar posts. Can’t be less than 50 of them, and they’re nice posts. Six feet long at least, none less than four-inches round at the narrow end.

I pay. The man with the white Ford follows me out of the store, carrying a case of bottled beer. No dashboard cup holder in that old Ford, so I’m thinking he’ll do the ole crotch wedge. The bottles clank as he carries them. The man looks to be 55, maybe 60. I bet there’s a day’s worth of work in the back of that truck. I bet there’s a night’s worth of beer in that case. I bet he bought the truck new.

A few miles down the road I stop at Jimmy and Sara’s farm to pick up waste milk for the pigs. Jimmy and Sara and their young daughter are behind the barn, watching the man who came to butcher the cow that slipped and broke her leg. He’s got the broken leg skinned out; the shattered bone protrudes, knife-like. We all stand for a bit, mostly quiet, mostly watching. The sun feels so nice on my skin.

7 thoughts on “Yesterday”

  1. I trust that you did not write this to convince me to leave my touring bicycle here in California. Nevertheless…

  2. Too bad about the cow, ‘hope that they have room in their freezer for all of that fresh meat!

    ‘Saw a cougar the other day in Park County, CO, sure hope that he/she moves out of the valley and into the snow covered mountains before we move 308 cow/calf units to summer pasture next week.

    1. A bicyclist got killed (and probably eaten) by a cougar in my state (WA) the other day. It’s crazy, because it wasn’t in a particularly remote place. Where we live (in the wilderness close to the Canadian border), we have lots of mountain lions, even wolves, and this killing made me nervous. I shouldn’t be, though, because the statistics of this happening are so very, very, very much smaller than being killed by, say, a car… ~~~ I hope your calves are safe!

      1. One of the cowboys was thrown last year when a cougar spooked his horse while he was out riding fences. The cowboys always ride in pairs, so that if one is hurt the other can call for help, if there is cellular service, or go for help if there isn’t. His partner was probably tempted to shoot that cougar, but he probably instantly considered the consequences and the fact that a running/bounding cougars would be damned hard to hit. We seldom see them on winter pasture, but we see them at least once every year on summer pasture.

        Heck, I saw one just off I-80 within 17 miles of downtown Omaha in 2000 and one was injured and later killed by police near the intersection of 120th and Q Streets in Omaha a couple of years ago. Just goes to show that if you’re in their territory, a stealthy predator can show up where you wouldn’t expect it to be.

  3. I would like to subscribe to your blog again (my computer was “hacked” & I lost all the contacts. I clicked on the “Follow Blog” spot, & it went no where. I read you for years & have a couple of your books. I am missing this!! Mary Ann (in GA) . Thanks for your help.

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