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The Drop

By Nikolyn Williams

There are particular phenomenons that occur in nature that are almost miraculous in a sense.

If you are ever lucky enough to be caught in the middle of one of their migratory paths, I guarantee they will make magical believers out of you.

Monarch Butterflies migrate from all over North America to Mexico yearly. Over the course of four generations and thousands of miles, just before winter a final generation is genetically altered to become a super generation. Which gives them power to make a full migration in one lifetime. Like I said there are phenomenons in nature that are surreal and miraculous.

Here is another one….

Everyone says it, when you drop off that caprock into the canyon, “I don’t know, something happens.” Like something is lifted, a calm comes over you, and I mean everyone says it. I usually exhale a breath of relief and say “hello Never Never Land.”

Once Woodrow asked me why I thought that was? I didn’t have an answer for him then, however after a lot of thought and observation. I’ve come to this conclusion. I think it’s a portal, to place where things are not modern, tradition, honor, respect are not something that is “Old time” or “Out Dated”

The things I’ve witnessed down here, branding as it is has been done, for hundreds of years.

There is a cemetery at Grey Mule not very far from here where the graves are still dug by hand with shovels and pick axes by the family members.

One of my favorite things to watch is what the cowboys down here call “The Drop.” The beginning of a cattle drive as they ride out and one by one they are “dropped off” by the head cowboy, who strategically drops each Cowboy off on the drive. As Woodrow describes it, “ When you ride out just as morning is breaking, the sun’s coming up over the canyon rim, it’s quiet. It’s a little foggy, when you start getting dropped off, you are sitting on the canyon rim, you can’t see the next guy that got dropped off closest to you because of maybe the fog or brush. When the cow boss gets to the corner of the pasture, he starts, when he starts, the next guy starts and the next guy starts, if it’s foggy and really brushy and it usually is, you might hear a whoop, then the next will start and let out a whoop, and on down the line. When you are sitting there you get a little nervous, because you don’t want to be ahead or behind the drive. When you start, you begin throwing cattle together. It’s a timing thing, It’s an art, It’s an instinct. The last thing you ever want to do is get ahead of the drive and have cattle come in behind you.”

Every single time they all emerge from these large pastures miraculously at the same place and time. For me, always when they begin to ride out I get that same feeling of an unexplained phenomenon, just like the butterflies, and when I “drop” off the cap. It is a dated old time feeling like you have been whisked to a magical place and time. A place not many know about anymore.

Love Always,


Thank You Sarah Pfenninger for capturing in one photo everything I want to say.

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