I've been through a few blizzards in my life. Both the kinds that come with blowing snow and the kinds that come with life. It's a bad feeling when you realize that you are lost and you don't know which way to go.


Vaya Con Dios

The Eclectic Cowboy

Winfield Davenport

The Blizzard


Dawn broke cold and dreary, the colt that I was riding was hungry and wanted to return to the warm barn and some fresh hay.  But we had a job to do and by looking up north it didn't look like we had any time to spare.  We headed north in search of some strays that had wondered away from the herd.  The trail lead strait to the breaks to where most of the animals hide while in this part of the country.  We wound around searching for the strays praying that we would find them before we had to head back to camp.


As the day went on the wind started blowing and it gradually got colder.  The wind started biting through my clothes and my hands and face turned numb.  After several hours we finally had a break, fresh sign heading up a draw.  Turning and following the trail we come upon the strays all huddled together in anticipation of the storm that was about to hit.


As we started herding them down the trail the first flakes started to fall.  We hurried as best as we could but the snow became thicker and the wind became fiercer.  All of a sudden I realized that we were lost.  We had been following a familiar trail in familiar country and suddenly the familiar becomes the strange.  Just as our lives are, we follow familiar trails with a specific goal in mind and suddenly we wake up lost in the world.


I try to focus my mind looking for anything familiar.  But my mind keeps wandering back over my life.  The mistakes that I have made as well as the things that I have done right in my life all come back into my mind for me to examine.  With every situation that I have faced always there is a light present.  That light is sometimes very faint and sometimes it is very bright but it is always present somewhere somehow.  I come to realize that I am always happiest when the light is the brightest.


Suddenly I remember that we are in the middle of a terrible storm and my horse has stopped.  I look around and notice two trails, which one do we take.  One trail leads directly into the storm and one heads in the opposite direction.  I look into the storm and the wind and snow beat against my face, when I look down the other trail I am not fighting the wind and it feels a lot more inviting.  We start down the easiest trail and notice how dark that it seems going down this trail.  We stop and I look over my shoulder at the other trail.  Somehow there seems to be more light down that trail.  Reluctantly we turn around and head into the storm.  My mind does not comprehend why, but we seem to be drawn toward the light.


As we head toward the light it seems to get brighter.  The trail does not get any easier but it also does not get any harder.  At every turn another dark trail appears beckoning that it will provide an easier way home.  At times we almost take these other trails but eventually the light wins out and we continue up the trail toward it's glow.  Finally we come to the source of the light, it seems to be coming from a simple little stable.  I have lived in these parts all of my life but I do not recognize it even though it seems vaguely familiar.  I go inside but it is empty, nothing has been living here but it is warm and cozy.  Then I notice the source of the light and warmth, there in the far corner is a feed trough filled with hay.  I look inside the trough and there laying in the hay is a simple wooden cross stained with blood.


Suddenly I wake up in my own bed, was I dreaming, if not how did I get home?  I get out of bed and notice that my boots are wet.  A strange feeling comes over me and I run to the door to look outside.  Outside the storm has passed leaving everything pure and white.  I see my horse looking longingly off toward the north chewing on a mouthful of fresh hay.  The strays are also in the corral eating hay.  How is that possible who could have fed them, who could have broken ice so that they could drink.  Finally I see the answer as I close the door to settle down to a warm cup of coffee and breakfast. 


I thank God for my salvation and pray that the next lost soul is able to follow the light that leads to the blood stained footprints that were heading north.


Winfield Davenport

December, 2000