MOUNTAIN VALLEY COWPUNCHING

Harry nudged the cow pony with his heels and she trotted out to edge the spotted cow and its calf back into the bunch moving downhill toward the creek. While the pony did her work, Harry turned his attention to the trees topping the rise on his left. He’d been through them once already, but he had a suspicion he’d missed something. Then he saw it. A massive black bull rose slowly from a hollow in the ground, gazed at the herd below, then turned and headed into the trees.

Harry sighed. “Collect ’em all,” Gallagher had said. “Even the bastards.”

The cow and calf were now meandering alongside the rest of the herd, which continued its downward trek.

Harry turned his pony’s head toward the rise. The bull was nowhere to be seen. Harry shook his head. Damndest thing, herding cows up here. Too many trees entirely. When he got his month’s pay, he was headin’ to Cimarron, maybe beyond. Out on the plains, where people knew how to ranch. No more mountain valley cowpunching for him.

from Moreno Valley Sketches II

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