I miss morning wrangles.

Rolling over to your alarm at 4:45, putting on layers by feel, not by sight.

Catching and saddling in the dark, serenaded by coyote calls.

Shooing barn cats off of your saddle, slipping your fingers into work gloves.

Not wanting to move, but knowing that it will make you warmer.

Giggling with your friends as you ride out the driveway.

Long trotting out after claiming your section.

Seeing your breath mix with your horse’s in the frosty air.

Loping up two-tracks.

Smelling the sage.

Reveling in its minty greenness, and realizing that’s your favorite color.

Watching the sun rise from the top of a ridge.

Thanking God for another day of doing what you love.

Feeling your heart swell with a gracious sort of pride, for living the cowboy way of life.

Gathering horses as the dew burns off the sage.

Whistling and yipping at the herds that don’t want to come in.

Keeping an eye out for coyotes and moose.

Turning the volume down on your radio so you won’t hear chatter, so you and your horse can work as a team, just the two of you.

Looking across gullies and seeing your friend silhouetted against the sunrise.

Jumping your horse up creek banks, spraying rainbows of water droplets into golden air.

Singing under your breath, everything from Dave Stamey to Mumford & Sons.

Whooping once you got the whole herd in, or switching horses to go back out and get the ones you missed.

Watering your horse and rubbing his neck, filled with a sense of peace and accomplished purpose.

Peeling off Carhartt layers, and swapping beanies and Kromers for felt and straw hats in the barn.

Heading inside to get a refill of coffee. (Black, obviously.)

Smiling, knowing that you’ll do it all over again tomorrow morning.

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