Feed the Soul; Steel the Spine


If you will allow me to brag a little, I will tell you that despite my clumsy parental performance I have a pretty wise daughter. The other day she was knee-deep in an intense conversation with her young son. Without going into the problem at hand it will be enough to say that the youngster was angry and upset. At that point, Daughter #2 told him, “Right now you go and saddle Gunny and ride for about an hour and come back and we will talk this out”. Then after using a rail on a fence to mount the most dependable roping horse/kid horse on the place, the boy rode off for an hour in the pastures and among the cedars.

After a return the matter was settled, or at least discussed and agreed upon. As she told me about such times in her earlier life, “I could ride Brandy (a Sugar Bar breed mare who could turn on a dime) off for an hour by myself and the whole world felt different”.

We all have things that feed and quiet our souls. They are gifts from a divine hand that created us to be much more than busy creatures hurried by survival. Oh, survival and passion and purpose are meant to be very much a part of our life. In fact, purposeful effort is one of those gifts. Because of those gifts, we don’t just feel hurt and pleasure. Our most meaningful feelings as not physical. They are much deeper than that, much more lasting.

We are in fast-moving and dangerous times. They are angry times. They are times that will require us to rise up and grasp a destiny that we are heir to; or our children, and the world as a whole, will lose something hard-won and rare. Much will, and should, be required of us in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. Our role was not supposed to be easy or short.

There is a lot to be angry about. Anger can be a hot motivator. But it is a poor planner. It almost always lacks reason or wisdom. But it can become passion and grasp both purpose and direction.

But first let’s not forget that there is a soul full of quiet, joyous, and passionate possibilities that is at the core of being human.

As desperate as this year in time is, I have a grandson who is playing his first year of varsity football, another grandson who is coaching his first year as a G.A. in college, a granddaughter who will graduate from high school, there are elk beginning to bugle now along the high mesas calling to gather cow herds as the air begins turning to Fall, I have a much younger grandson who is just beginning to find the world around him. These also are the moments large and small we were created for. They are the ones we will remember in our last hours. And they might well be some of the ones that help to define a generation worthy of picking up the shield and carrying on against heavy odds.

Few things quiet me and focus me more than good horseflesh and open isolated country. There are a few who will tell you that as much of a recluse loner as I might be, I love the fight.

But I have said that Liberty must be practiced. And that certainly includes those everyday experiences that remind us why it is so important, how it enriches our lives and the lives of those we cherish most. I have grandchildren who are scattered through almost every stage of life I experienced the first two (or three) decades of life. To be a part of it is a gift to us both and is wrapped in lessons for us both.

There is not a time with a young or seasoned horse that quiet lessons given by steady, weathered but wise voices don’t come back to me. There are still a lot of colts to be started and others to be finished.

Alone with skylines showing no hint of man and winds heavy with the smells of whatever season it might be, I easily remember the stories that I believe important to share and the value I hope they have for any they are passed to. There are still ridges, rimrocks, canyons, creek banks where I feel at home. I hope there always will be.

Our liberties and our republic have never been threatened so much from within. Yes, I well understand we once fought a Civil War. But this Cold Civil War is so very close to tearing away the culture necessary for our survival.

But we each have those things which remind us, strengthen us, and renew us. They are a vital part of our culture as well. Don’t ignore them, don’t miss each and every chance to soak them up.

And then with new steel in the spine and an even brighter sense of purpose engage to protect those same types of moments for all the American generations to come.

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  1. Juliana Member

    I am always appreciative of the gifts of nature that God has given us to soothe our soul. I have no words to describe the feeling of a dark sky punctuated with stars, or the sound and sight of green leaves brushing against a deep blue sky. I believe that is on purpose. Maybe in that moment we can think as God thinks.

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  2. Max Knots Member
    Max Knots

    Thanks Ole. Great stuff.

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  3. Michael Brehm Coolidge
    Michael Brehm

    I love the post, Ole. I’m not really a horse person (that would be my aunt), but for me it’s kayaking. I can hit the water and leave my worries on the shore. I usually find there’s a lot less of them when I return to land (those pesky raccoons must have run off with them). 

    I love it when I can get out on the Susquehanna river. It’s wide, slow and shallow with plenty of tiny islands and channels to explore and let the mind wander.


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  4. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator

    Ole Summers: But I have said that Liberty must be practiced.

    That is a wise saying.

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  5. Blondie Thatcher

    I went to college in the middle of no where. Whenever I got stressed out, I would just take a drive on some country backroad with the radio on and sing to the top of my lungs. It was very therapeutic. Sometimes we just have to get away and clear the mind. 

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  6. BDB Coolidge


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  7. CRD Member

    Thank you!

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  8. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill

    What an exquisitely told story to frame your offered up wisdom.

    Thank you.

    As for my re-set button, one night this summer, I realized I was in the middle of a deep and troubling funk.

    It was also quite hot in the house and Mark wanted the AC off.

    I thought about how the front porch balcony would offer a clear view of a Milky Way laden sky. And I considered how  late night cool breezes  would swirl around me.

    And also how I only needed a sheet and flimsy blanket on the camping mattress to make it through the night outside.

    Except I couldn’t sleep. Through patches of clarity in between branches of   ancient oak trees lining my vista, the stars seemed intent on telling tales first told millennia ago, from back in the era when my forebears sailed in boats quite crude yet designed to take on the high seas as well as sheltered inlets.  When fire itself was a “modern invention.” When  the only long distance connection between members of a tribe  was a psychic one.   

    I must have finally petered out around 4Am. When I woke around 7Am, it seemed like I had slept for centuries.

    Whatever had addled my soul had been tossed out like last week’s garbage. Life was good, as once again “God’s in his heaven, all is right with the world.”

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