River Crossings

The Cowboy folded his arms over the horn
And stared through the horse’s ears
Glued to the rushing river’s current
Like Cowboys have done for years
The swirling, circling, bubbling water
Seemed to taunt and beckon him in
A crossing here cuts miles off his journey
He has a decision to walk or swim

If things went bad and the horse was swimming
It will most likely make it to the other side
He’ll just slide down the saddle and grab the tail
Then hang on for the watery ride
For it to breathe he’ll untie the horse’s head
And he’ll loosen the cinch’s latigo
So the horse can blow up and take in more air
And face him to the current is the way to go

He ponders, will the crossing be worth the trip
There’s no tell what’s on the other side
It could be green pasture with grass knee high
Or rocks, thorns and bog for miles wide
He decides to long rein his horse and jump in
To live with his trust and faith intact
But the frigid water’s past his saddle’s fender
And the rushing water is pushing him back

The horse fights and grabs for its rocky footing
Against the powerful river’s flow
The Cowboy stares through a wall of splashing
To see where they have to go
His saddlebags, chaps and knee-high boots
Like him are soaked clean to the core
The horse grunts as it lunges toward the bank
The Cowboy wonders how much more

He’s proud of his saddle horse for working so right
He knows it’s just the two of them alone
Making their way on this almost insurmountable journey
To a future difficult and unknown
Finally he sighs as the horse’s hooves hit rocks
And it starts to pull them out
The end is in sight or the beginning is near
A Cowboy never takes the easy route

They fought the mad river and crossed her alone
But their journey is now really under way
They traverse the clay bank at a lunge and a lope
What adventures will come with a new day?
Standing at the edge they wondered if they should cross
Even if though it scared them to the bone
Cowboys know sometimes crossings lead to green pastures
And sometimes they carry you home

– Copyright Diamond Doug Keith, 2013