The last thing I wrote about was calving season. Now here we are in mid-August, the summer slipping silently past into the river of no return. It’s been eight months since I started a new life. I’m still wiggling around in it to see how it fits.
You don’t know much of anything about a new job until you’ve been there a year, especially in the ultra-cyclical world of ranching. Until you feel how the seasons sit on your shoulders for a second time, you don’t know if a job is the right fit or ready for a trade-in.
Right is different from perfect, you know. Right is liking it most days, loving it some. Disliking it a few days, hating it none. It’s fights and squabbles with frequent moments of catching your breath and soaking up how lucky you are to be in a place like this. But perfect, is there such a thing? Maybe grandma’s apple pie or a summer sunset on the river.
I still get questions about how I ended up here. In the words of my newly acquired Kiwi friend, “I drove here.” Knuckles, new Kiwi friend.
You don’t do this in our society. You don’t leave a nice office job with a good company. You don’t step off the career ladder you’ve been climbing. You don’t toss years of effort into the garbage to wrangle cows.
But I did. And I don’t regret it. I don’t care if others think I’m sitting at the bottom holding the ladder I used to be climbing. When was the last time you went to the store and saw a row of identical happiness for sale? You can’t buy it, and everyone needs a different brand.
So the last six months? Calving cows, sorting pairs, shipping to spring grass and then summer grass. Fixing fence, miles of fence and more fence. And – shhh, don’t tell, because I don’t want to ruin my cowgirl rep – driving bankout wagon during harvest. Some days I was even good at it, usually on Tuesday afternoons.
I’ll probably be sitting in this fitting room awhile longer, checking out how I look in my new job that feels old in all the best ways. I’ve always hated the fitting room – in the store, in relationships, in books, in vehicles – but this one comes with horses, cows and wide open spaces. It’s a good place to try on.