Wednesday, May 25, 2011

One More Time, Back to the Woods

I’m headed back up for what will probably be my last 2-3 week stint at Estancia Anita.  I can’t believe that I’m starting my 8th month in the Chilean Patagonia – but I am.  And unfortunately, it’s also time to start thinking about home.

It’s hard to capture the last few months riding with Juan Luis (local cowboy), but of everyone I know who rides horses, I have the most respect for him.  Training his own string of rope horses, from unbroken colts to superb working partners, in the most difficult terrain, is very admirable.  Bogs, rivers, forests, bushes, rocks, cliffs, mud – you name it, and Juan Luis has to deal with it. 

During my next ~3 weeks hopefully I’ll be helping in their year cattle round up, bringing cows and calves down from the mountains, and then branding, sorting, and tagging the animals.  However, all of this is weather dependent.  If it’s not cold enough, the rivers won’t go down, and we won’t have access to the herds, or be able to cross the sale animals to leave the estancia.  My fingers are crossed that the weather will cooperate, and I’ll have enough time to round out my estancia experience with a Patagonian cattle drive. 

I also want to be more intentional about capturing daily live, both on film and in writing.  I forget that in Colorado we don’t go to the barn and simply cut off the selection of meat I’d like for dinner.  Or that not all streams and rivers are potable and carrying a water bottle here is worthless when you can drink all the water you want.  It’s also delightful to live in a place where the only communication to the outside world is by radio, cutting out the otherwise daily noise of advertisements, television, etc. 

I’m living the opportunity of a lifetime.  Herding cattle by full moonlight below glacial mountains reflecting white against a navy-blue sky.  Waking up and falling asleep by the sunlight, and nothing else.  Sharing life with local people in a land I respect and adore.  So here goes it, one more tour between national parks.