On the Ranch...

On the Ranch
Black Velvet Heaven
Poem by Cris Paravicini.

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Black Velvet Heaven

The cow drive began when sandman's dust is on heavy eyelids drawn. 
Before the robin serenades the sun, before moonbeams wed the dawn. 
We know that cowboys greet first light; it's the nature of the man. 
And they'll face most any danger; on their horse they'll make a stand.

The spring starts ancient stirrings in a man and in a beast, 
And a longing for the mountain peaks, and there, a summer's feast. 
The instinct of the cow herd called, said, "Traverse the many miles.
Yes, travel trails of memory, and do it cowboy style." 

The air hung dark around them; 'twas cool and damp and still. 
A shroud of black engulfed each soul, and therein began the chill. 
They trotted to the holding pen, their reins were gathered tight. 
'Cause the nip within each biting breath, transformed horse to bronc that night. 

Each horse had sensed the danger; each rider knew the risk, 
Of the job he'd undertaken, but, t'ward the blackness threw a kiss. 
The cowpokes hoped the dawn would blush, and ignite behind the rim. 
But the rumble of the thunder, proved the chance was mighty slim. 

The atmosphere was strange that morn', cowboys felt it in their bones.
Skies of ebony began to knell, lightning throbbed and thunder groaned.
Each man in saddle deeper pressed, as his horse just skittered on. 
The importance of the task ahead, depended on this trusting bond. 

The fantastic fight for morning's dawn began on eastern hill. 
But the blackened clouds engulfed the morn' and overpowered daytime's will.
Within the silent, eerie calm, each horse and cowboy sensed, 
The tingle in the predawn sky; the unknown made them wince. 

In the stillness of the atmosphere, Terra Firma held her breath, 
As Time stole a needed rest, and in peaceful sleep was Death. 
On distant, somber, sagebrush rim, a seething storm beguiled, 
And contrived a little magic, to display its wondrous wiles. 

The storm sent out its loyal scout, the lightly, stirring breeze. 
The wisps of restless, carefree air commenced to spin and tease. 
Beneath the brims of cowboys' hats, the wind began to rise. 
So men pulled down the beaver felt to just above their eyes. 

Then...like a Japanese tsunami, the angry clouds rolled in. 
The destructive power of such a force is feared by mortal men. 
Like a regiment to battle marched, in formation moved the herd. 
And from the lungs of cowboys, sounded not a single word. 

The usual charge of bovine hooves was slowed by surging storm. 
In the lowered heads of humbled men, thoughts of life since they were born.
The lightning was spectacular, much like a white-light strobe, 
Or a nightmare's spooky searchlight, or Death's transcendental probe. 

Each flash displayed the Angus herd slowly moving down the trail. 
And behind the sparkling raindrops, cowboys' faces ghostly pale. 
Though Death could lie in waiting in a white-hot, fiery bolt, 
The cowboys kept on moving awestruck by the thunder jolts. 

Black velvet heavens seemed to tear and launch a great deluge, 
Upon the subdued riders, the sky portrayed its mood. 
The overburdened storm cloud tried to sprinkle morning dew, 
But seams ripped wide, relieved its soul, then to southern heavens blew.

The Lord had kept a constant watch of man and beast in nature's clutch.
So the cowboys tipped their rain-soaked hats, thankful they'd been left untouched. 

The Pearson Angus Ranch is located approximately 2 miles northwest of Daniel, and 11 miles west of Pinedale, Wyoming. Cris can be reached by e-mail at: cowgirl@wyoming.com.

Copyrights: Photos and page text content copyrighted, Cris Paravicini, 1999. No part may be reproduced without permission of the author/photographer. Page graphics copyrighted, Pinedale Online, 1999.

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