Why cowgirls get the blues

  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Focal Length: 17mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter: 1/50 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D80

Northport, Alabama

The wild were meant to be free. You can’t cage us, can’t lock us in beige boxes and gray cubes and think we’ll ever be happy. There will be days when a wicked west wind sweeps the grass and the clouds roil with an approaching storm front. A bowed head lifts in recognition — the undercurrent that seethes just below the flesh, longs to rend the ill-fitting garments, longs to tear a hole in the sky and capture lightning.

The wild were meant to run. You can’t tie us, can’t corner us in pens and think you will ever break our spirit. When the hands are bound, the feet will still roam, when the feet are bound, the eyes will still seek the horizon. There will be days when the sun is shining and white clouds build higher and higher. Nostrils flare, picking up an ancient scent that no one else remembers.

But we do. It’s hard-wired into our DNA, coded into our systems, so much a part of who we are that it can’t be suppressed. On a dark, dark night, it sparks blue and orange, threatening to kindle, a wildfire waiting to happen.

People don’t take kindly to wildfires, but they’re necessary, nature’s way of scouring the slate and forcing rebirth. It’s painful, this phoenix rising. Sacrifices must be made. Comforts must be left behind. But this is the price of freedom. Those who don’t feel it will never understand us. They’ll never see the light flickering in our eyes. And while they may get our hearts, they’ll never claim our souls.

Trapped in traffic jams, juggling laundry and dinner, mindlessly flipping tv channels, it will still smolder, this primal longing to be free. And every once in a while, kindred spirit will meet kindred spirit and nod in silent accord.

Music: Seminole Wind by John Anderson (lyrics)

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