October Issue- Week 1

October 4, 2012

About photo- “In addition to getting up at 2 AM, we have huge ranches in Az and NM. The ranch we were working cows is 206 section ranch. The border splits the ranch in half and has to run different brands. We get up at 2 to feed the cow horses and we are all up, dressed, most of us anyway, saddled and mounted by 4:30 AM. It takes us about 45-one hour to get the herd where we gathered them (10 section trap) and we wait for sun up. At sun rise they want water and we drive them about 10 miles to the corrals and water. Then we sort off the mother cows. We rope and drag the yearling to the fire for shots, ear tags, brands and if it’s a bull calf I cut them. We then let the calves mother up and we push them all back to good pasture, then ride back to headquarters. It is usually a 2Am – 8PM day.”

M. C. Hudson was born in Tombstone, Arizona and has lived and loved the life of a cowboy for most of his life. He is an ex-bull rider, who has lived to tell about his experiences, and has helped train youth to ride bulls. As a pastor of a rural church and setting in SE. AZ Mike has worked many of the larger ranches in Arizona and New Mexico, gathering cows, doctoring, sorting, branding (cutting-seems to be the job for a pastor) and roping. He is also embarking on a journey into writing poetry and prose, and was chosen for the October 2012- week 3.


Dragging Me Down

Our raft was sinking thirty yards off Wild Horse Island.  That bastard Rollie had been dragging me to the Island for six months, and this is how it ended.  We had busted ass over sixteen square miles nearly every night and everything we had to show for it was sinking.

The shadow of Wild Horse Island loomed over us, even in the dead of night.  She was laughing at our private disaster because she knew we had stolen from her.

“Damnit Warren, help me bail.”  Rollie was trying to scoop water with his hands.

“It’s gone.  We gotta start swimming.  Sun’ll be up in an hour and I ain’t getting caught by Tribal Police.”  Trespassing on Indian land came with stiff retribution, but Rollie didn’t care.  And Rollie did enough not caring for the both of us.  He kept scooping.

“Rollie, it’s not gonna’ work.  The damn thing weighs four hundred pounds.  We can’t swim with that.  Hell, it sank the raft.”  I took him by the shoulders and stared him straight in the eye.  “I’m going.”

I slung my pack and hit the water.  The shock of cold sent my testicles into the furthest recesses of my gut and I struggled for my next breath.  I used it to holler at Rollie to swim before I started myself.  The mainland shore was a quarter mile off and my clothes were already heavy.
“Warren, come back.  We can’t let it go.”  I know Rollie would have gladly sunk along with the cargo.  As it was, he was fighting to stay up, still clinging to the crudely constructed raft.  But it was going, and there would be no stopping it.  Our treasure was just too heavy.

I paddled over to Rollie who had just managed to grab his bow off the raft in its last seconds above water.  He was treading water now, still staring down into the water after his prize.

“Wish we hadn’t killed it,” I said.  “I had more fun chasing the thing every night.  It was huge.”  Now it was dead and headed to a resting spot two hundred feet below the surface, but I didn’t bother saying that.

“It was either me or that ram.  It used to see it in my dreams, Warren.”

“I’m just glad it wasn’t you and the ram.”

I peered down into the depths, wondering if I’d be able to see the one-and-a-quarter curl on its way to the bottom.  But it was four-thirty in the morning and that would have been impossible.  I grabbed his arm and started for shore.

Nate Wilkerson currently  is a resident of Portland, Oregon, has attend school at Marylhurst University, and now works for the YMCA child care division.  I have had poetry published in A Plains Paradox Literary Journal in 2011.

2 Responses to “October Issue- Week 1”

  1. Ray Siderius Says:

    Hi Nate, I like “Dragging Me Down.” Compact, plausible dialogue for mini-adventure take-off on Wild Horse Island. Looking forward to reading more. Buck

  2. tbnranch Says:

    A good read, glad I found your blog! 🙂

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