Saturday, February 9, 2008

Two Worlds Collide

This morning, two men set off for work.

One rose from bed when the sun gleamed into the window around 5:30 a.m. He donned yesterday’s dirt-caked clothes, drank a few swigs of coffee, listened to the weather forecast on the country radio station, and stepped outside, breathing the sweetness of the dewy grass on his way to the corral.

He spoke his first words of the day to the dog, and the next living creature he saw was his horse, which he saddled, mounted, and spent the next few hours upon.

A thousand miles away, the second man awoke to the electronic blare of his alarm clock at 7 a.m. He rose from bed, showered, shaved, and watched the morning news on television. He stepped out the door into the hallway and rode the elevator to the bottom floor, where he departed through the glass doors and onto the sidewalk. A blast of noise greeted him from the dirty street, and he ducked into the corner shop and paid $3.75 for a sugared cup of coffee in a Styrofoam cup.

He then stepped onto the pavement, into a vehicle, and out again when he reached his office building. He took the stairs to his sixth-floor office, where he conversed with at least a dozen people and spent the rest of the morning on the phone and at the computer.

At 4:30 p.m., the office worker will shut down his computer and begin his commute home to his family. He will purchase supper through a drive-through window and return home, having never set foot on the actual earth during his entire day.

The rancher will head home as darkness sets in, sitting down to a dinner of beef that, six months ago, he fattened with grain from his own fields.

The two men live in worlds that would seem to never meet. But now, as travel and communication between worlds apart improve, these two worlds have begun to collide.

The man who spends entire months without stepping on ground that isn’t concrete, pavement, or turf will discover that he is missing something in his life. He will begin to search for it, and he will find it in the world of the rancher. He will call it nature or frontier or paradise, and once he has tasted it, he will want it.

He will demand that it belongs to all people, not just those who have worked to preserve it and improve it for centuries. He will demand that it return to its natural state, and he will donate money to organizations that promise to make this happen.

The rancher, who has little money and even less time, will watch defenseless as his world begins to change. When reintroduced wolves begin to feast on his new calf crop, he is told by people living in cities built over the forests where wolves once roamed that it is nature’s way. When urban organizations begin to pressure government agencies to pull his grazing lease, he is told that public land is meant for the people’s enjoyment, not cattlemen’s gain.

He listens in frustration to the television news programs which accuse him of freeloading off the government, while the city dweller pays a smaller percentage of his paycheck for groceries than any other working man in the world. He wonders why these people want to eat foreign-raised meat and grains and conserve for recreation the land that now raises the world’s best quality and safest food supply.

He wonders why these people who rarely set foot on the earth itself seem to think they can take better care of it than he can.

And he will continue to wonder tomorrow, as he puts in another 16-hour day of tending his land and his animals. For him, resisting the collision between the two worlds is not just about saving his job; it’s about saving his life.


Anonymous said...

I love this one Erin... so true. Some people don't understand the unknown/unfamiliar...


Anonymous said...

Found your blog at PW.

Amen to the post.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Wonderfully said! As a former Montana girl now living in San Francisco, I know only too well of those folks...the ones here with their nose rings and tattoos who don't value human life but want to impose their desires onto the lives of everyone else. Intolerance personified! The one movement that may bring about a change for them may be the "local food" movement. As they start interacting with the small farmers, I've seen some face some eye opening moments where they've come to appreciate more of what ranchers and farmers live daily. Also, seen more vegetarians turn back to meat when they see it humanely raised by caring ranchers!

The W.O.W. factor said...

Wonderfully put! I can only hope that change comes before it is TOO late! We are becoming less "dependant" on our own food chain, (which we are fully capable of producing safe's Farmer/Rancher livelihood, they won't jeopardize that!) becoming more dependant on foreign foods coming into this country without the strict regulations imposed on US farmers/ranchers!
Something HAS to change! I live where I see a lot of small producers & farmers....walking away...not because they want to, but they have no other choice!

Andrew Siemer said...

I have been reading your stuff for quite some while now. I was born and raised a California dude. I went into the military straight out of high school and straight into the work force out of the military. I have spent the past 12 years working as a self trained software engineer in the Los Angeles area. I have 6 kids and have been married for 10 years. I am done with the city! We are buying our first ranch here in CA with plans to buy a bigger spread in Texas in a year or so. Your posts make me want the ranchers way of life that much more! Thank you for the inspiration (and the words of wisdom for my wife).

Anonymous said...

I found this blog reading the Bible about the Shumannite woman. I have also been discovering real food and farmers because I have poor health. God bless you. I am praying for farmers everywhere.

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