To read the article in its entirety, please visit American Cowboy's website here.
From the article: "Inspired by John Wayne's words of wisdom, John Erickson—perhaps best known as the author of the Hank the Cowdog series—writes what it means to be a man of the West."
“The West—the very words go straight to that place of the heart where Americans feel the spirit of pride in their Western heritage—the triumph of personal courage over any obstacle, whether nature or man.” —John Wayne
by John R. Erickson:
"The wind is blowing again today, this time out of the north. It blew yesterday out of the south, and the day before, it howled straight out of the west. It is relentless. It has no mercy.
My ranch is in the third year of a drought, and it aches and bleeds. I ache with it—the bare patches of dust where grass used to grow, the skeletons of hackberry and elm trees that died last summer, the silence left by wild turkeys that have died or moved out, and cattle and horses that are gnawed by constant hunger.
I wake up in the night with a vivid memory of 2006, when wildfires burned almost a million acres in the Texas Panhandle—fire on top of drought, disease on top of injury.
Those of us who grow attached to a piece of land can’t escape its suffering. We’re involved in a love affair with parcels of land that don’t always love us back. It is a tradition that comes to me through my mother’s family, who moved to West Texas in the early 1880s...." [...Continued on American Cowboy's website here.]