line of vision, big white feathered entities zooming through the early morning .... It was as if there was this tree trunk that entered the top of my head, went straight ... meaning of the metaphor and reality, "There is nothing worse than a scared ...
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…the greatest beauty is Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe. Love that, not man Apart from that,... Robinson Jeffers, Selected Poems


The ranch hands and the cowboys

lived in a cluster of houses separate from most of the houses that the family utilized. There was the usual, implicit,

boundary that lay between the employers and the employed, and there were some

cultural differences in that the majority of ranch hands were mostly Hispanic. From the child’s perspective, there was the

known world of the family (perhaps, bet-

ter described as, the more known world of family) and the unknown world of the

workers. For me, the world of the ranch

workers became a world of mystery and

intrigue mainly because there were cow-

boys over there. From about eight to ten, I was particularly obsessed with the world of the cowboy. Reflecting back with

Long road to barn, tack room


Beach roundup, canyon roundup, Doyle with grandfather Jim

fondness, I have a clear image of waking up at five in the

morning by myself, walking out of the house into the cool air of the early morning darkness, and directing myself up the long hill to the horse saddling barn.

The hill to the barn really was not that steep or

lengthy, but, again, at my young age, going by myself,

anticipating what might transpire once I entered directly

into this unknown world of the cowboy, this made that hill

seem eternal. The road was made of dirt and shale and had very tall, old eucalyptus trees lining both sides, as they often did, protecting the domestic domain from winds. Often the morning breeze rustled the leaves making a noise like sheets of rain hitting pavement in a storm. These tall, straight trees were perfect perches for 38

Working the Corral Doyle on Tico, grandfather Jim

the barn own, screech owl, or great horned owl, and on those quiet mornings, the canyon would usually echo with their screeches or hoots. The hooting was not disturbing at all. There was, in fact, some degree of companionship in them, and it was fun to try to establish communication with the owls by returning hoots from

my end. But, the screech owls were different. They would swoop down out of the trees in front of my passing line of vision, big white feathered entities zooming through the early morning night, releasing the sound it is

named for, a true screech, in every sense of the word. It was a sound that would send my heart rate rocketing to the dark, star-riddled sky above, a true wake up call. The positive consequence of this though was the

immediate warming up of my body, and the inner comfort that, having been initiated into the realm of fear to 39

this degree, I was ready for just about anything, even the unknown world of those cowboys.

I always seemed to arrive at the horse barn,

despite those experiences from the other world,

encountered on my way up the hill. Once at the barn

another mysterious process began. I never knew who was going to be there. I did not know the cowboys

well enough to make it an emotionally secure place.

The most dominating trait of cowboys in the morning

before sunrise is that they do not talk. They do not talk much anyway, but they are, emphatically, silent in the morning. They quietly enter the ritual of haltering the

horses, leading the horses into the saddle barn, extracting saddles, blankets and bridles from the tack room,

and saddling the horses, men moving methodically in the dimmest of lighting. There is, of course, an occa-

Tony Romero, ranch worker

Ranch hands, relatives and the