Golden Legacy

Snow flurries filled the grey sky.  My arms trembled as I climbed under the rope, strung between Sadie’s saddle horn and Chico’s harness, and plopped into the saddle.  It felt good to sit upon Sadie’s firm back.  Stuffing my scuffed boots into the stirrups, I tapped my heels lightly to signal my desire to move.  Sadie flicked snow from her tall ears and trotted ahead, holding her head high.  I prayed the spring snow might melt fast enough for us to see the trail.

Hope faded as the snow fell steadily, first in small gusts of fluffy flakes and then turning into a swirling cloud of dense white.  The snow looked dry, filled with air, unlike the sodden wet stuff from my English childhood.  The mules’ hooves brushed the fluffy flakes into churning clouds as it thickened across hard ground.

How would I see the trail?  “Trust the mules,” Bobby’s voice echoed inside my head, and I had little choice.

Completing another turn around a switchback, we reached a place where the trail split into a sharp fork, veering in two different directions.  I pulled back on Sadie’s reins.  She stood still while I fumbled through the saddlebag and unfolded Johnny’s map. 

As snow covered the flimsy paper, my trembling finger followed the ink up the mountain through a series of zigzag patterns and stopped at a spot, marking a second trail deviating from the one I should follow.

I smiled.  We must follow the trail to our left.  I peered through the hazy sky, wondering where Lake Como, the next landmark on the map, might be located but knew it didn’t matter now.  Before I could shove the valuable document back into my pouch, a gust of wind ripped the paper from my numb fingers.  I whimpered, considered chasing the map, and slumped in dejection as it disappeared into the void. 

 

Synopsis

Snow flurries filled the grey sky.  My arms trembled as I climbed under the rope, strung between Sadie’s saddle horn and Chico’s harness, and plopped into the saddle.  It felt good to sit upon Sadie’s firm back.  Stuffing my scuffed boots into the stirrups, I tapped my heels lightly to signal my desire to move.  Sadie flicked snow from her tall ears and trotted ahead, holding her head high.  I prayed the spring snow might melt fast enough for us to see the trail.

Hope faded as the snow fell steadily, first in small gusts of fluffy flakes and then turning into a swirling cloud of dense white.  The snow looked dry, filled with air, unlike the sodden wet stuff from my English childhood.  The mules’ hooves brushed the fluffy flakes into churning clouds as it thickened across hard ground.

How would I see the trail?  “Trust the mules,” Bobby’s voice echoed inside my head, and I had little choice.

Completing another turn around a switchback, we reached a place where the trail split into a sharp fork, veering in two different directions.  I pulled back on Sadie’s reins.  She stood still while I fumbled through the saddlebag and unfolded Johnny’s map. 

As snow covered the flimsy paper, my trembling finger followed the ink up the mountain through a series of zigzag patterns and stopped at a spot, marking a second trail deviating from the one I should follow.

I smiled.  We must follow the trail to our left.  I peered through the hazy sky, wondering where Lake Como, the next landmark on the map, might be located but knew it didn’t matter now.  Before I could shove the valuable document back into my pouch, a gust of wind ripped the paper from my numb fingers.  I whimpered, considered chasing the map, and slumped in dejection as it disappeared into the void. 

 

Diane Rapp became an entrepreneur when she started her own dog grooming salon in Santa Barbara, California. She spent the next thirty years as a small business owner; she sold real estate, started an office supply/copy center, and performed free-lance advertising design.