Saturday, May 24, 2014

Heartbreak Ranch

Spring in Missoula, Montana
The Greening of Elmira Pond
The Flood of Grass that is My Yard
In Time for Lilacs
The Old Apple Tree Blossoms
Dried Blossoms Give Way to Baby Cherries
There Will Be Horses!
Between Missoula and Sandpoint, the Clark Fork River flows muddy-brown and aqua--the combination of snow-melt and glacial tills. Even the grass seems in full flood.

Green shoots heady with feathery seeds cascade toward the sky like rain in reverse. Even rocky crags in the Cabinet Gorge are garnished with green. Yet snow clings to the tallest peaks like the trio of Scotchman Peaks.

Spring that has bustled in Missoula with tulips and lilacs has caught the northern Rockies in its verdant grip. Elmira Pond will most certainly be green.

And did I mention overgrown? That's the unexpected surprise after being away for an entire month. It's green and the grass is hip deep in places. I scan the pastures for horses and the pond for waterfowl. Both are empty and my heart sinks.

No horses. What is a buckaroo writer to do with no horses? Already the clover is thick, a gourmet carpet waiting for the munching teeth of horses that add color to the green like moving, grazing flowers.

Disappointed, I seek blossoms. I missed the cherry tree's pink blooms--all that is left are dried, brown petals already forming fruit. That's good. The apple tree has blossomed and many remain. Last year it gifted me three apples and this year there may be more. The crab apple trees are beyond bloom, but not lilacs.

As if in perfect timing, I've arrived to a bush in full bloom. The warm sweet scent lingers in the air. Beyond the lilacs sits the old Elmira Schoolhouse and I wonder if the bush is old enough to have bloomed when children played tag across the meadows I now claim as yard. An overgrown yard.

And no horses. It's going to feel like the Heartbreak Ranch this summer bereft of a buckaroo's best friends. Why does it have to be empty now? I had hoped for fullness; to drink from this cup for as long as I could until Todd and the Uhaul moved me away.

No horses.

So I go inside to clean house. The higher my level of anxiety, the brighter my woodwork gleams. I pull out the wood polish that I've hardly used since arriving to Elmira Pond 20 months ago. Three hours later my hands are greasy and gritty, and my office glows. I've unpacked, too.

Weary, I decide to step outside to the south porch to stare at empty pastures and the pond. Maybe Blue Heron or the osprey will visit. After unlocking the door, I step through and see a note. My heart catches as I read the line: "just wondering if I could bring you a couple of horses down."

Horses! Elmira Pond will have horses after all--the cowboy didn't forget that we have pasture to graze. It won't be the Heartbreak Ranch. There will be horses! 


  1. I saw the picture with the note on the door before I read about the note and I knew - she will have horses! I am so glad this story has a happy ending for you and Elmira Pond, Charli!

    1. Ha! Yes, you know that I'd be too sad to write if it were an un-horsed ending! Woo-boy! But they gave us our first adventure this morning...

  2. Glad the buck is back in your roo. Welcome home!

    1. That is priceless, Ren Woman! My buck is back! And I got to be a buckaroo this morning.

  3. Glad you have horses to keep you company and munch your grass. So -- are you soon to move away from Elmira Pond? Love your pictures, as always.

    1. Maybe...Todd has a new contract eight and a half hours away. We are migratory like the birds and water fowl, seeking that next pond. But we have no definitive plans, yet. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoy the photos!