The sky had an unnatural way of shifting under the current of a Wyoming breeze. The wind, blustering through the evergreen branches, brought Austen back home to the sound of waves crashing on the sandy beaches of the Oregon coast. Between gusts which assaulted her ears with a deafening buffer came the clicking of grasshoppers in flight, of bees performing their sacred missions.
From astride Lawless, motionless in the moment, her eyes followed tiny black figures as they crossed the turbulent bleached grasses of the plains. The bluffs in the west marked a cascading blanket of sandstone and velvet. Sharp crags of sediment piled thickly together, concreted in time, a testament to generations of erosion. The spindled fingers of anchored tumbleweeds reached upward and out, rebelling against the unrelenting wind, clinging desperately to a solid, unmoving earth.
Cracks in the earth formed microcosms of great canyons. Their walls angular, their grassy cliffside an abrupt edge. Dusty green trees lined the ridges, denoting water, tributaries of a greater river nearly expelled of life. Cow-licked grass rushed to and fro under the pervading dominance of the wind. Austen felt she too would succumb to its tyranny if forced to marry the beast by lingering purposelessly in its shelterless domain. Fortunate was she that in the dry heat of evening the wind moved without chill, the force of which, when riding blindingly through gale of nature on the animal beneath her, she felt certain it had infiltrated her lungs and thus gave birth to the tempest locked away in her breast. A hurricane bouncing off cavern walls of the body left her gasping for air as if she were drowning.
Lawless would snort, exhausted from her battle against the invisible wall pushing against her bodily. To run against the wind was mutiny against nature, but to ride it like a wave within the ocean left horse and rider in flight, rushing faster and further from their home and the safety of the barn walls. Stranded thus under a blazing setting sun on a plateau of raging currents, Austen remained.
Comfortable in her saddle, she leaned back with arms outstretched and feet dangling freely from the stirrups. The land felt desolate, hard, and unforgiving, yet within moments of breath she felt welcomed as if returning home after a long journey away.
The energy of the prairie urged her on, cleansed her stagnant soul, forcing life into her apathetic bones. In the beginning the ferocity had frightened her. It required the purification of self; the letting go of all she thought she knew to be her truth. To relinquish that which she had held dear to her for so long, to release the bonds which held her fast to the insecurities of a lifetime of doubt and abused vulnerability, to accept freedom of spirit as it wafted in on the breeze seemed an impossibility. Yet, as each day of summer passed, so eager was she to seek out the morbid conditions of the plains that eventually the fear had subsided to addiction, to exhilaration, to liberation.
Author: Beaux Cooper
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Some people seek marriage counseling; others find wisdom in horse manure. Austen St. Johns has taken up a shovel.
When her marriage transitions from blushing newlyweds to people who merely co-exist, Austen realizes perhaps she’s responsible for her misery.
Desiring change, she leaves Oregon for the open plains of a Wyoming ranch where she discovers through love of self how she can save her marriage.
Beaux Cooper is a writer, explorer, and wife. Much of her writing is pulled directly from life experiences, revelations, and lessons which seem to come in spurts if given enough time to formulate. As a fresh transplant to the bluffs region of Wyoming from her home state of Oregon, Beaux has grown to appreciate just how small she really is compared to the rest of the earth.
Wyoming skies can do that to a person.
Beaux craves adventure, travel, and fish tacos. She hoards knowledge like a magpie after carnival and watches entirely too much British television. Surprisingly, Beaux’s weekends are filled with all things quintessentially Wyoming: national parks, cattle brandings, rodeos, and the Oregon Trail. But only because she seeks them out.
Beaux shares a household with her husband, two dogs, and two cats – in no particular order.
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