Posted by: highmountainmuse | August 10, 2009

Ode to a morning at ditch camp

Horses grazing, a morning at ditch camp

Horses grazing, a morning at ditch camp

Hands in wool mittens

Wrapped tightly as if in prayer

Cradled around the chipped enamel cup

Half full with steaming coffee


Closer to the fire I sit each day

Absorbing the heat of the flames

Through layer upon layer of smoke scented

And soot covered clothes


Noises of the ranch

Follow me so far from home

Generators, vehicles, voices,

Bells and whistles and alarms


But this morning is nearly silent

There is little noise

It is quieter

More still

Colder now


In the hush of early morning

With only the fire and the distant creek

To break the calm

I note the absence of the robins

The song birds have left the high country


Now there are only the ravens

To share the motionless and chilled morning air

An urgency in their call

As they search and scour the hillside

For heat and light

Food and shelter


Even the horses nearly panic

Tight and tense as I lead them two by two

Down to the meadow after a night in the trees

Hungry, ravenous, their need to move, to eat, to warm up

Is overwhelming

As they await the sun

Slowly inching down the mountain

Across the meadow toward them

Standing their like sundials

Broad side to the sun


Finally calm and relaxed and warm

Finally at peace

They rest their heads and breathe


They are here only because of me

Perhaps the ravens too

Cleaning up the scraps of dinner

I ask myself what I am doing here?

How much longer will I too remain?



  1. Gin,

    Sure have enjoyed your recent posts about life in Rio Grande highplaces. Alan sounds like a wonderful friend and companion. After a time, perhaps he will transition into a fulltime life as the ranch foreman, if he doesn’t already do that. Hope to meet him in a month, when I am in your neighborhood. Will you be doing Ditch Camp at that time? I ask so I won’t miss you guys.

    And I hope that was a retorical question in your last line!


  2. I loved it…when snow flies you will find yourself indoors..enjoy the autum and color change.

  3. Hi Al, Thank you indeed. We will all be here in September, and really hope you’ll be able to stop in for a visit. Our work at the ditch will probably come to end for the season the first week of that month. We’ll look forward to enjoying the fall color and the change of season – and good company!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: