By Davalynn Spencer @davalynnspencer
As an author of historical fiction, I’m often asked how much time I spend researching.
That’s a hard question to answer because it depends upon the topic researched and the type of research required.
However, I must admit that my most enjoyable research venture occurred last week at a working cattle operation, Badger Creek Ranch, 8,800 feet up in the high parks of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
Many of you who have read my novels know that I write about the high parks and those who ran cattle and horses there in days gone by. Experiencing this work and setting first hand, even in our modern era, was like stepping into one of my stories.
In addition to the camaraderie of the ranch owners and others, the hard work we enjoyed, and the surprisingly peaceful beauty, I brought two clear realizations home with me.
First, I lived and breathed and drank in the reason the American cowboy became the American cowboy. Atop a good horse, riding across open range, the world and its temporal cares slip away like night at the crest of dawn. Those timeless hours taught me, in a deeper sense, why cowboys and cattlemen do what they do, both yesterday and today.
Second, I experienced a tender aspect of the long familiar words, “The Lord is my shepherd.”
Cattle have an innate belief that the grass is always greener elsewhere, typically beyond the fence that manages their roaming tendencies. They are cliché to the point of “if there’s a will there’s a way.” But so are ranchers.
When cattle stray from the better pasture and away from their water source, putting themselves in danger, the cattleman “pushes” them home. Pushing is an old cowboy term that means heading them in the right direction at a leisurely pace, following behind and beside on horseback.
The rancher wants his stock to “lie down in green pastures,” drink from still waters, and be restored. He may not be called a shepherd, but the desire of his heart for his animals is the same.
How often I’ve felt the same nudge from my Lord and drawn strength from His presence through dry or difficult times.
Returning with an abundance of sayings and experiences, I plan to share many of them, whether in blog posts, via social media, or in my books—my favorite of all places to speak of life. And I’m working on creating a special Pinterest page for countless photos I gathered at the ranch. Give me a week or so to get it up and running. You can keep an eye on my Pinterest pages at https://www.pinterest.com/davalynnspencer/
However, one saying stays with me, weaving in and out of my thoughts, tying in values from my past with dreams for my future. A wise horsewoman at Badger Creek recounted at dinner one evening her rendition of a quote by which she tries to live:
“Collect moments, not material things.”
Thank you, Anke. I believe I will.
~Collect moments. Click To Tweet
“The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He beds me down in green pastures with sweet water.” -Deacon, An Improper Proposal
(c) 2018 Davalynn Spencer, all rights reserved.