Monday, July 02, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

Yes, I know I'm early, but since we will be horse camping at the base of Mt. Adams on the 4th, we decided to celebrate last night. Brian really wanted to see fireworks, and the St. Paul Rodeo, biggest "Cowboy Christmas" (that's 4th of July to the uninitiated) rodeo west of the Rockies, shoots off a nice display after every night's performance. So we kept the little boy up late (REALLY late!) and enjoyed a great show. Brian was really impressed by the bulls; we had to stop by the bull pens before and after the rodeo to see their impressive bulk. Brian begged for a ride on the mechanical bull, but at $5 a pop we nixed that request. (After all, he's fallen off his own horse for free!) My mind when back to when my brother, cousin and I made our own practice "bull" as teenagers in the panhandle of Texas, a very effective contraption consisting of a 55-gallon drum suspended from tall telephone poles by three ropes (one in front and two in back). With one of us on the front rope and one of us on one of the back ropes, that barrel could leap and twist as well as any stock contractor's prize beast, and I don't think any of us ever rode it for eight seconds.

Anyway, I was just thankful (it was an answer to fervent prayer!) that nothing and no one got hurt during last night's performance. I used to enjoy rodeos a lot more. Rick took me to one on our first date. My final project for my college B/W photography class was a rodeo photo essay. Rick was a roper when we met, and I tried my hand at heeling steers a few times with some success. I always felt sorry for the little calf-roping calves; no one could convince me that getting yanked to a stop from a dead run with a hard little rope around one's neck isn't painful, even cruel. But the rest of the events were fine, and we enjoyed them when we went. Until we attended a rodeo when we lived in Minnesota. One of the broncs -- we don't remember now if it was a bareback horse or a saddle bronc -- broke a front cannon bone during his run. He kept bucking, his lower leg swinging wildly, until he got hustled into a stock pen that we could see from our seats. Most of the people around us were unaware of what happened; I was nearly sick to my stomach. The poor horse kept trying to place his broken leg, not understanding that it was useless. We expected to see a veterinarian, or at least a stock contractor with a pistol, show up immediately to put him out of his misery, but nothing happened. After a bit Rick made his way to the pen, and eventually euthanized the horse himself. That ruined rodeos for me, and to a great extent for Rick. Now I tense up during each run, vivid memory in my mind's eye, hoping nothing breaks a leg, or a neck. Yes, I worry mostly about the animals. It is tragic when a cowboy or cowgirl is injured or killed, but they do CHOOSE to be there, after all, in spite of the great risks. The animals don't have a choice; they are there at our will, for our "pleasure." Sometimes -- too many times -- they die for it. At least then, I guess, they finally get to rest in peace.

Ah, peace. A worthy thing to pray for this Independence Day. Although I have no illusions that humans will be able to achieve it on this earth.

That's it for now at . . .

1 comment:

Tina T-P said...

Beautiful fireworks picture! And all your fruits and vegies - (besides Yum!) the pictures are really gorgeous - aren't those fun pictures to take - I'm really having a great time with my camera this summer.

I hope you have a wonderful peaceful 4th - and a safe trip! Tina