There are things I’m glad you’re missing. The pandemic, of course, because we wouldn’t get to see you, anyway, for fear of spreading the virus to you. But the other night, I was mostly glad you weren’t here to see fire burning up the mountains you grew up on, rode horses on, lived by, loved. The mountains that were your home.
When I was at the house where you and Carolyn had built a life on the night of the Big Hollow Fire, all I could think of–other than making sure she got out okay–was you. How you would have been the first one to help others out, and you would have been the last one to leave because you’d want to make sure everyone else was safe.
How you wouldn’t have had to chase a horse down to take her away from the flames—you would have been able to catch her (but you would have done it with as many swear words as I used trying to chase her down—I’m sure you’re proud). And about how if I didn’t save the saddles you, Brooke, and I rode on, they would be gone.
The fire is on its way to being contained, the house you lived in and loved with Carolyn is safe, the trailer you camped in is at your brother’s. All is safe.
But you’re still gone.
I can hear you asking me why I saved the saddles. You’re glad I did, but why? We don’t use them anymore. Why did I drag them out of the dirty trailer in the muddy field while wearing my shorts, my ballet flats, my city-girl outfit?
Because somewhere deep inside of the fundamental core of who I am, there’s a solid foundation of being the daughter of a man who taught by example to work hard, help others, and cherish what matters.
But mostly, it’s because if I hold on tight to the saddle (or keep my ass in the saddle, which was your way of saying it), I won’t fall off. I can keep hanging on.